We started tossing ideas back and forth and somehow the conversation led to the best photography advice we have received. I jotted down a few of our responses and thought to share with everyone. I called up a few friends, email some, and searched. the internet for more advice.
Below you'll find some famous [and not so] advice, quotes, ect.
If you have a great quote or advice, please share it! We'll have a great reference guide that will always be growing!
"Capture an image with a sharp foreground and the rest will follow."
You dont take a photograph, you make it. Ansel Adams
"Its not camera. Not the lens, filter or sensor. Its all in your hands and eyes."
"Dont take boring photos."
"Shoot what you want to see. That encompases framing, lighting, depth of field. Pick your subject, and shoot that the way you want it seen"
Advice that my old USSR Zenit camera gave me after I spent around $10 for my first photo film filled with snapshot-like trash:
Think BEFORE you press the shutter
Therefore, Im putting much more effort in my photos now and it works, you know.
"Coverage = horizontal, vertical, wide, medium and closeup."
"Dont take photographs of subjects, take photographs of the light."
"First know all the rules, then you can go and break them."
The best tip I ever got came from my father way back when he introduced me and my siblings to photography when we were children - starting us with box cameras and, once we earned the right, letting us use his camera and eventually teaching us to develop film and make prints.
His advice - which I generally ignored - was: "take three steps closer."
Superficially this seems pretty vague, and you can even think of lots of shots in which this might actually be the wrong advice. But in terms of getting one to focus on the main subject - or even to make sure that there is a main subject - it is advice I still think of often when I photograph.
Though this one isnt so critical anymore, but Check your ISO! always rings in my head AFTER Ive left the shoot and realized I shot the whole thing on much-too-high ISO setting.
The best tip I ever read: Bring your camera with you.
Without that, you can forget about making any kind of photograph.
"Get down to childrens level."
"Less is more More is less Keep it simple"
"Photography is all about capturing light in the right amount in the right way."
Exposure, exposure, exposure Did I mention exposure?
Visualize what you want the image to look like and then use your exposure to get that look (adjust aperture, shutter speed and ISO for desired affect).
Now, this is assuming you know composition already.
I dont remember where I heard it or read it, but the most encouraging advice I ever got as a beginning photographer was the following:
The difference between great photographers and a not so great photographers is that the great ones dont show their crappy pictures.
This made me realize that even the pros shoot bad pics and dont be discouraged. Just shoot tons of pictures, get rid of the bad ones and learn from your successes and failures.
Take your camera every where with you. Take pictures off. Try new prespectives. And most of all have fun. I think the fun part was the most important. If you are passionate about what you are taking a picture of, some how that passion translates into the picture.
Look beyond the obvious.
The viewfinder is the frame to your worlduse it to your advantage and show others what you see.
Craft images dont just take pictures.
The camera is only a tool. Purchase the best camera you can afford and use it to its fullest but dont ever mislead yourself into thinking that a better camera will make you a better photographer. It wont.
"A meaningful image tells a story"
I originally come from a photo journalist/journalist background. I learned that whatever you are taking a photograph for, you are telling a story. And like every story it should be one that engages people. Now I do art and commercial stuff, and its harder if not impossible. However, I try to tell a story in every picture.
The second is related
"Dont tell the whole story in an image, let the viewer figure some of it out."
"Digital should be no different from film when you press the shutter"
This is one that stuck with me, specifically they were talking about 'wasted shots'
When you hit the shutter, think to yourself is this really worthy of the cost of a negative, the price of printing equipment, the time to process
If the answer is no, then change the shot so that it is worth that. Just because digital is free, doesnt mean this isnt a good check before you click.
There are so many! Here are two that have made the most impact for me thus far:
In photography, its all about the light. Find the great light and youll find a great subject there. (Im not sure where that one came from, I think tis someone Scott Kelby quoted in one of the digital photography books of his)
"If you want to be a better photographyer, stand in front of more interesting stuff." Joe McNall
Somewhere between Fill the frame, and Its not the camera.
The first was the tip that literally got me interested in understanding how to actually compose a photo, rather than just blindly snap away at random.
The second tip I kind of told myself when I first wanted to run out and buy an SLR because I thought it would automatically make me a better photographer. It forced me to not only compose and produce better photos, but it taught me to really fully exploit the technology that I already had. I learned to fully push my point and shoot to the max and while I eventually upgraded to an SLR, I did so only with a full understanding of why.
Photography is not about pressing the button. It starts in your head - its what I want to say.
"Dont try to create amazing artistic images everytime, just go for the moments"
The best advice I have heard is that to become a better photographer, first become a more interesting person, and second stand in front of more interesting things.
The best advise I had ever gotten was to "Be true to yourself" and take pictures that YOU like. Whether it be macro, landscape, food styling, portraits, children or wedding etc Not pictures that are popular or the IN pictures. That way you can concentrate on who you are as a photographer and build upon that. Only than can you go on and learn all there is to learn and build upon those strengths. Either as a professional or like me a hobbiest.
Learn to use your camera dont rely on Photoshop to fix your photos!
The very first photography teacher I had in college, back in the days of film, said you can expect to get one or two powerful photos out of each roll (of 36). In other words, dont take just one shot - keep shooting. That has stuck with me all these years and I still apply it today. I always shoot in continuous mode.
At a conference speaking with a renowned sports photographer and reflecting on all the great shots to be had at the Superbowl and other high end events which most of us will never have access to. His response was simple: "every assignment is the Superbowl"
The best advice I received from my mentor was learn "lighting". He said "if you do not learn anything else at all about photography, learn the lighting."
SHARE the knowledge. It still amazes how many people hold "their" secrets SO close and wont share, anything. Im so glad that I learned this very important advice early in my business. It makes me a greater person both personally and professionally.