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An experience to share | by ssheikh(Will be back soon!)
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An experience to share

Today I am going to share the story of my photography learning experience. I still have vivid memories of the day when I bought my first DSLR camera about a year and a half ago. I was super excited and I couldn’t wait to open the box. With the first shot right out of the box, I was impressed with the picture quality and result that it produced indoors using the in-built camera flash and camera auto mode. Right then and there I asked myself, how could it be that easy to take nice pictures? So I set my camera down and took the owner’s manual out and started reading and experimenting it on the camera as I learned it. Before I realized I had spent most of night and it felt I was still scratching the surface.


Since that night it feels I had made some progress with learning photography and by no means I deem myself even close to becoming an expert. Learning never stops and I have to keep going to learn and experiment new techniques.


Anyhow to cut the chase, out of many things that I have learned till date; I would like to share three important things today with example images


1) Composition; one can write a book about composition but to keep it simple I am just going to talk about one often ignored aspect of it. “Rule of Thirds” the reason I picked it is because in my personal experience ever since I started using it I have seen improvement in my compositions. Now I am not going to write article on what it means etc. because we live in the google’s age and anyone can look it up. However one thing that I would like to mention about this rule is that try to apply it whenever you can. It definitely is more applicable to landscape photography but by all means you can try to apply it during portraiture photography, you just need to keep in mind while framing your shot and you will see even in close up shots it would create more appeal e.g. while shooting a human subject up close try to have subject’s eyes on one of the intersect of thirds and the eyes would become more prominent.


2) Post Processing; never think of post processing as a foul. Post processing is as important as taking a picture using your camera. I used to be a fool to think using photoshop or any other such tool is cheating. The truth is just like not everyone knows how to use camera correctly (composition; exposure etc) and take nice shots, similarly not everyone would know how to post process images correctly. In my opinion post processing plays half the role in creativity and creating appeal to the image.


3) Raw Files; always shoot raw files when possible, it would open a door of endless possibilities. Using the Adobe Camera Raw you would be amazed to bring out the unexpected details of your “not too favorite shots” and you may start liking them.


To conclude; I am sharing two versions of the same image with you here. This image may not be the best in terms of composition or exposure since I was just starting the learning, but the reason I still chose this shot was to prove some of the above points about rule of thirds and post processing. The image below is the original as-is camera jpg shot. The one above has been enhanced using photomatix pseudo tone-mapping and some basic touchups in photoshop i.e. sharpness, noise reduction, vibrance and saturation. Then I cropped the image to comply with rule of thirds and so you will see the image height has been reduced.


The only problem is that since this shot was taken as jpg (during my early learning days) and not the camera raw, I had lost many details and introduced noise (if you look carefully you would see the color transitions in the sky are not smooth) while trying to post process it as 8 bit jpg. But I thought it could still be worth to share my learning experience even though the image may not look the best.


Let me know your feedback, comments and thoughts as I would love to learn something from my flickr friends.

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Taken on October 1, 2011