New at this. I nedd direction... : LUSENET : Photographers Communicating : One Thread

I have had a passion for photograph for a long time. I don't have any experience but when I show people my photos they say that I have a good eye for photography. Every where I go I can see a great picture! It drives me crazy sometimes:) I guess my question is where do I start? I want to do this for a living.

-- Jessica Stires (, April 16, 2001



I know exactly where you come from. I fell into photography with a passion that hasn't let up in 6 years & I still get that 'funny' feeling every time that I see a nice pic.

There are 3 things that I highly recommend. Read. Educate yourself on the basics of photography, don't read from the library, but purchase a paperback book for under $15 so that you can reference it at any time at home. Also subscribe to a magazine, "Popular Photography" is the biggest.

Second thing is to become very aquainted with your camera and its functions.

Third, shoot. You need to burn film and gain experience. You need to also keep a small notebook and take notes on most shots. Things like weather, exposure and situations. It should be interesting to see your results when you see you're prints and compare your notes.

Finally, for best results use the rule of thirds for composition and fill the frame with your image (try to have your subject fill most of you picture).

Good luck, and happy shooting.

-- Robert G. (, May 06, 2001.


Although photography is a form of art that will not go well without a lot of tricky, technical and sometimes expensive physical stuff, I always believed that being a fine photographer begins with the way you *see* the world, people and things around - all the time. Have you a camera at hand or not, if you possess the talent of a photographer, you will look around yourself and see worlds evolving - then and there, just with your mind, you see potentially infinite shots through these evolving worlds. Sometimes you catch some of these shots with a camera, but most of the times you lose them to your memory till they fade away in the stream of new things and shots. This is not to stop, if you have that talented inner call. So, if you have the passion and the talent, you have most of what you need. The rest, no matter how complex, is in a sense less and easier to get.

I can only talk about my own ways. So, here goes some hints.

1) Get a manual camera. This is doctrinaire; some people will think differently. Yet it is my opinion that you should not let high-tech automation catch you from the start. I won't suggest you a brand or model because we shall not be advertising here. But if you look through magazines and talk with people, you will see some brands and models recurrently mentioned. Pick one of these.

2) Get a good quality zoom lenses covering something about 28mm to 105mm range. It is a remarkable fact that some great photographers used no more than a 28mm or a 50mm lenses for all their work.

3) Don't lose your time buying lots of equipment or pursuing ideals as "complete sharpness" for lenses or "complete mechanical perfection" for bodies. Remember that in the origins of photography you find superb pieces of art arising from blur, not from sharpness; and made with very rough boxes with a tiny hole - true artists, true creators. In a sense, making fine art is just stepping beyond the limitations of equipment and showing you can make many things out of few things in a way that most people would not do.

4) Educate your eyes; not the physical eyes, but your gaze - the way you see with your eyes while interacting with your mind, your heart and your sensibility. Part of this education process requires you to grasp the photographic language by absorbing and realizing the way the great masters did their art. So, peruse the great masters. I will not mention names, but many websites over the Internet will give you a glimpse into the great photographers' work. See their soul. Try to imagine, while looking at a fine image, what might have happened just before and just after that shot was taken; try to rebuild in your own spirit the moment of perception, by the photographer, which culminated in pressing the shutter.

5) Read good books, and good mags. Some great photographers were also fine writers. I won't advertise here, but I could list some names. Read fast and selectively. Donít force yourself to read the boring parts if you find them so; jump them, jump to other books - let the knowledge come even disordered because the other's order may not be your own order and, in time, you will build your own organized viewpoints.

6) Pay special attention to black and white photography (this is also doctrinaire).

7) Know that while beginning by an act of talented perception, and ending in a print, photography is an art that stretches itself along these extremes, through entire process from pressing the shutter to looking a final print as deciding it is good and ready. You will have to know the details of this long path; for example, for the same shot, the balance you decide to give to midtones, highlights or contrast may produce completely different print results - some will be art, some will not. There is a lot of discussion about digital cameras - but pay attention to the fact that digitalization is also possible starting from the negative, not from the camera - this is a whole new world, that drives you into computing; but it comes for fun as well. Check some film scanners but try to know something about conventional dark room manipulation. This is part of the art game.

8) Shot for chance at random, but at the very same time try to foresee a main theme or a project. Great photographers generally concentrated their interest in fixed fields and, inside those fields, they toke wings and expanded their work. Try to discover or make up with your own theme, and make it grow while you press the shutter.

8) Share your work and views with others. Show your pictures. And in the future, when you are far and high*, give your hand to someone who ask you how to make the first steps.


Walzi DaSilva Rio de Janeiro/Brazil

* This does not entail that I myself am far and high. ;-)

-- Walzi DaSilva (, May 12, 2001.

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