Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Luck of the Draw

I read a photography article a few days ago that I particularly liked. It speaks to my philosophy about photography. For me, photography is about learning. It is knowing what to do in any situation to get the best shot. As the article stated, you move out from getting the "lucky shot" into making deliberate, knowledgeable images.

Nothing annoys me worse than someone posting a string of bad photographs with either an excuse about why they are so bad (and being posted anyway) or a complete lack of realization that they are so bad and no desire to make them better. Sure, take fifty shots of the same sunset and you might get one that's good, but how about instead taking a single, excellent shot from the get-go? It makes a difference to me to know the photographer is making an effort to grow.

Then there is the other side of the coin. The semi-professional to professional photographers who have no time for the little guy. To be entirely truthful here (and isn't that what blogs are for?) I delayed buying a DSLR for years because I didn't want to become what I have seen in the DSLR photographers around me. Even the major magazines have adopted this philosophy and for the most part, greatly neglect teaching the person with the point-and-shoot. Their magazines contain pages and pages of articles about choosing the right lens (which obviously doesn't apply to the point-and-shoot photographer), using expensive software that most don't own, or traveling to locations that many cannot afford.

I started photography with a point-and-shoot. I still have one in the closet that I dearly love. It helped me create some of my favorite photographs, and I remain firm in my belief that it is not the camera that creates the images, but the photographer. It is what he or she knows and can implement that makes the difference. (How about some articles on taking good vacation photos? Or making the most of photography at home? Or photographing a family dinner? I mean, really, I am not going to Africa any time soon!)

Good photographs are created by people who know something about photography. Good photographers can tell you what they did to take the photograph. Yes, there will always be pictures that come as the "luck of the draw." I have some like that myself. But behind even those, I know what settings I used and what the camera was doing to capture that image. Ask me where I was and what I was thinking, and I can tell you.

I personally have never learned enough. I never know everything I need to know. Instead, I learn from those around me. And I, in turn, hope they learn something from me.

This image was taken with my very first digital camera, a Polaroid PDC 640.
Pastureland, Lakeland, Florida

Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

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