I read a great article recently, where Digital Camera World interviewed over 50 photographers asking them what insight or advice they would give to other photogs. These were some of my favorite tidbits:
I love expressive portraits. This one is by Nick Danziger, a documentary photographer whose work I perused after reading the article.
1. Make sure people aren’t smiling. Otherwise you end up with a snapshot.
5. For candid shots, just keep persevering. Your luck will come in the end.
9. Try to engage with the subject. You have to like people to do my job. You need to look outside of the lens, get the relationship going, and only then take the photograph.
15. Think about combining the composition of the shot with the context of where you’re taking it. The two shouldn’t be separated.
62. Never stop learning about the endless subtleties of light.
64. Focus on the image and the emotion, and focus less on digital trickery.
95. Follow your obsessions and take chances. I wasn’t inhibited by the thought of anyone else’s photography.
108. Look at thousands of pictures of your area of speciality, and get to know your camera inside out.
115. Always shoot from the heart – photography’s like painting or composing music.
116. Learn from others; find your own voice. There’s a lot in photography that’s yet to be discovered.
133. Be an author of your own work, not merely an illustrator of other people’s ideas.
136. Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks and don’t compromise your vision just for financial gain.
143. Use a prime or fixed lens that best meets your needs. Leave your zoom at home… your lens must be your own eye.
146. If somebody dismisses your work as being too simple, be proud of it. One of the hardest things in art is to stay simple.
169. Be happy! Don’t imitate the news, show positive things. You don’t always have to show a harsh reality – photography’s a way of sharing joy.
190. The most important question to ask yourself is: what is a good image? If you can’t come up with any other answer apart from because people have told you what is good, go back to the start and do your own research.
192. Get to know art and the history of photography, so you don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel.
197. Have a viewpoint, and know why you are there.
198. Tread as lightly as possible and be respectful of your subject. It’s not about you, it’s about them.
199. Be sincere, in terms of photography and editing. Think about what you want to communicate, how you can do it justice.
200. Be playful – try to be like a child again. Try new ways of shooting and grow through your mistakes.
211. Don’t just fire off some frames and walk off. You often get the best shots of people by hanging around – after about 5 minutes, they forget you’re there.
216. I’m not a teacher, but remember that the success of each image depends on the emotional quotient of each person looking at it.
218. Don’t be afraid of interpreting reality according to your personal style.
220. Understand that the photo isn’t an end to itself but a means to understand the world around us.
There are 225 of these awesome tips from famous photographers, as well as links to their own portfolios. I am loving going through and looking at some of their work. It’s amazing how point of view translates through an image, the way they chose to frame, light, edit their subject. In so many areas, I feel like it’s all been said before, but not with photography. No one will ever capture the same shot twice. I just love this avenue of self expression and can’t wait to have the time to really delve in deep!
What were some of your favorite tips?