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September 21, 2010

Tuesday Tip

The Magic Button….

Like many photographers, I spent many years in search of the “magic” button on my camera that would help me get perfectly composed and exposed pictures every time. I would gaze longingly at the work of my favorite professional photographers and wonder what camera, lens, camera button, setting, or Photoshop action they used to achieve their photographic masterpieces. There must be some simple shortcut that they use, right?

Well you are in luck!! For today’s Tuesday Tip, I am going to share with you my findings (free of charge)……

Drumroll please....

Here it is: There is no magic button. That’s it. Oh, and there is no magic Photoshop action either.

Based upon the few opportunities that I have had to associate with some great photographers, I have discovered that perfect pictures can only consistently be achieved by (1) understanding and seeking out good lighting, (2) understanding and using your camera’s manual settings, (3) understanding the elements of and adjusting for proper exposure. No amount of post-processing, no Photoshop action, and no degree of an “eye” for photography can compensate for these three essential elements of good photography. One of my mentors, Jon Williams, often said “junk in – junk out.” If the image you put into your camera is no good, then there is no way you are going to salvage that picture by Photoshopping it to death.

As a photographer, I am obviously still seeking to master the three elements listed above. Making this discovery; however, was a liberating experience. I have not yet arrived, but acknowledging that the above three elements are the path to good photography has finally freed me to at least commence my journey to where I want to be as a photographer.

To be a great photographer (or even a good photographer), you need to consistently incorporate these elements into your photography. Here are some ideas on how to begin:

(1) Read your owner’s manual to understand your camera’s manual options (even most point and shoots have some manual settings)

(2) Practice using your manual settings in as many different settings as you can.

(3) Take a class, workshop, or check out photography books from your local library. (I teach a class and I also highly recommend the local classes taught by Jon Williams).


rychelle said...

i just wanted to let you know i really appreciate you taking the time to do these posts.

Brittney Hale said...

Amen sista!! wish it was as simple as a magic button. you are the best!