Your five decisions in photography

When I think about how well I am doing in photography and how to improve, I consider my task as five steps, or decisions that I have to make. I think this is true for any of us.


1. Where and when to go, and why? Location, location, location. If you travel around the world, de facto you have a lot of content possibilities, and if you stay in your house all the time, a lot less. Of course we can find great content in our house and boring content in a distant place, but all else being equal, it helps (but is not necessary) to go to places on purpose in order to find interesting content. And if you are a Flickrite, you know that sometimes photographers go to great dangers to get where they want to go.


In my initial post, I forgot an important aspect of the question: why to go? What's your purpose? What do you want to communicate?


2. What equipment to use? Just remember expensive equipment is nice, not necessary, and often not needed or even inappropriate. Don't buy into the megapixel myth. A far greater percentage of pictures taken by my $10 Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim have been in Explore than with my digital cameras.


3. What pictures to take?At locale with equipment in hand, what are you going to click at and how? The clicking or even camera preparation is a small component here; what matters is how good an eye you have. What I have been doing recently is pretending like I always have a camera, looking for an interesting shot.


4. What shots to keep?Some shots get tossed, some get kept but not shown, some get shown. I think this is an often over-looked "skill". I think this requires both constraint and judgment, which in part can be developed by looking at other people's works.


5. How to present image? This includes post-processing, framing, as well as a decision as to where to show it.


For me right now, I am trying to work on #3, especially by paying attention to light-dark contrasts.

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Taken on October 19, 2008