I was recently reading an interesting e-book (Going Candid….) about balance in photography which I found interesting, the balance the author was talking about is not the White Balance photographers are more familiar with but the balance between “shooting – processing – sharing” activities. The author is Thomas Leuthard, he’s a Swiss passionate street photographer. He has published three very interesting e-books (by the way free of charge) that I definitely recommend you to read especially if you’re a beginner. Here below the link to download them, I really suggest also to have a look at his portfolio, I found it very interesting.
Back to the balance stuff I don’t want just to repeat what Thomas has done already well, I would just add one more point a beginner photographer should balance carefully, and this is “reading”. As I mentioned in my previous blog (Good Morning Vietnam) this is to me a key part of the overall photography process. Learning and practice should always go together.
You may think it is a quite boring stuff and learning on the job (experiencing on the field your camera features and settings, keep trying with Lightroom and so on) it is the most effective and funny way to approach this subject. Again I think it is a matter of balance. Spending all your (already limited) time on reading doesn’t make you a good photographer (may be a better writer!) but just keep trying can send you crazy (especially when the result is always the same: the unwanted one!) and most dangerously can make you boring and abandon your initial interest.
I do believe motivation comes from results so especially at the very beginning make sure you get some few good results. How better than learning (reading some interests posts or a real book) something new and apply it right away.
Nowadays the overwhelming abundance of material in Internet provides everything we (beginner photographers) need, it is only a matter of finding the right stuff (this is learning as well). There are a lot of nice folks out there that seem to be very happy to help (either pushed by generosity or not doesn’t matter), take this advantage.
One of the most common unbalance is about dedicating most of your photography time in shooting and forgetting what processing is. Especially beginners tend to shoot a lot and only review their pictures occasionally. This is the best way to see your “Pictures” folder just growing as an undefined “blob” (it’s not a misspelling….) where unluckily you will able later on to find what you are looking for (even only for the pleasure to feel again the same you did feel when you were shooting them). I know what this mean, I have been one of the biggest “blobber” around, now committed to make some order.
At the beginning I was thinking that processing was only about an artificial change of my original shots, but then (again thanks to my reading passion) I quickly realized there is much more behind:
– editing: selecting “bad” from “good” (or the best can be done at that time…. no nice to remain without pics in your folders, right?). What is bad, let’s delete it right away, no pity, there is no reason why it has to stay there, it’s a waste of space making also longer your future researches;
– editing 1: the good could be ranked in “OK la” (typical Hongkongese expression to say “just acceptable”, give them 1 star (Lightroom helps a lot on this classification job), once you have given a star to all the pics that are at least Ok la then revise them and select the one that are not bad at all (2 stars), among these latter you may (or may not) have the nice one (3 stars) or the one you think (chance or not) are really pieces of art (everything is relative…..).
– developing (as per Lightroom feature): it is more about applying preset effects that make your pictures look nicer, I usually only apply for the ones I like more where I think it worth spending time to strength them. Many photographers (especially the more expert ones) may consider this approach as too simple, I agree with them however this is a suggestion for beginners which have approached photography more on the shooting than the processing one. There is plenty of time to get more knowledgeable on how to develop without presets.
– sharing: that’s my weakest point on the process despite I have chosen this blog (not blob anymore…) to share with you (unknown crowd!!!!) my pictures. I don’t know too much on what sharing should mean (a marketing exercise, a way to promote yourself, a way to tell stories……. ), thousands can be the reason. Soon I will write on this and maybe (I signed a no disclosure agreement with myself) share the reason I am writing this blog.