RECENTLY, a dear friend and one of the crazies passed away. We were part of a college publication where I was once the photographer and arts director. As we grieved and reminisced the old days, I can’t help but remember the time we were shooting one of the covers and she modeled as the claimed ghost in the campus.
I also realized that during those times, my photography skills were terribly below the charts. I cannot even figure out what I was doing back then. My pursuit to understand how a novice photography enthusiast would journey from ground zero gets more interesting as I try to connect the dots of my own development.
You have to consider that during those days, learning materials were scarce. Those were the years before YouTube emerged and the Internet was just something you’ve heard. Nevertheless, if I really wanted to learn, I could have grabbed books or spent more time assisting pro photographers.
In one of my workshops, one student asked me if it is viable to buy a macro lens since she is amazed looking at macro shots. I told her to force herself to create engaging photos from what she has. My belief is if you are hindered by your equipment, you’ll try to bend the other factors that create your photo, such as composition, lighting position and more.
However, as I get to see a clearer picture of my journey, I think that what kept me going all these years in photography is my thirst to create photos that interest me. Although I still stand firm with the idea of working with what you have, but I think that desire is a better enabler to fuel your learning.
In my previous article, I said that I’m my biggest fan and critic at the same time. What I meant is being critical about your work. I don’t rely on critics alone to give me feedback. I hail myself for the good shots and note down those I could have done better, which mostly is the case.
Don’t cross your fingers and post your photos in a photography group asking for constructive criticism, hoping you got it right. Subtract hope and luck out of the equation and present photos you think are worth assessing. Research and compare your work with those of the masters.
In the photoblog of Zhang Jingna, where she talked about tips in breaking into fashion photography, she said, “Test a lot.” When you do something repetitively, you get to notice things you’ve missed previously. You get to see more elements for you to fine tune your artwork.
Keep on shooting everyone!
*Rest in peace, Celeste Opolentisima.