Photography for Beginners

If you’re new to photography (or you want a refresh), this article is for you:

Why make photos?

Cindy red scarf. Berlin, 2018
Berlin, 2018 #cindyproject

To start, why make photos?

For myself, when I photograph whatever I consider beautiful — I feel a deeper connection with it.

Cindy is the love of my life, my soulmate, and my ultimate hypeman. Whenever I photograph Cindy, I feel more gratitude for her. It is also ‘photographic memento mori‘– I realize that one day we will (both) die. Thus, while we are alive, I try my best to avoid being petty, and to extract the maximum joy and creative energy in life together.

Thus to start off, begin by photographing your loved ones.

Beginner’s mind

Contrary to what others say, being a beginner is the best.

Why? When you are a beginner, you are a beautiful white tablet. You have the most open mind. You are able to learn with great enthusiasm. Furthermore, you see more possibilities than to see limitations.

Hanoi, 2017 #ericproject (shot by Cindy)
Hanoi, 2017 #ericproject (shot by Cindy)

Child’s mind

To take this notion further– best to study children. Children are the most pure learning machines. I have learned more from my 4-year old niece Amelia than I have ever from any adults.

Amelia sees the world full of opportunities, and lives boldly. She follows her curiosity, and never takes “no” for an answer.

In-fact, Amelia was the inspiration behind ‘My First Photography Book’— a book which teaches children how to approach photography. The truth is, adults can probably benefit MORE from the book than actual children! Why? It reminds us the fact and truth:

Photography is magic!

What should I photograph?

Simple advice:

Go on a walk, and photograph whatever interests you!

It is all good. Photograph the streets, photograph nature and landscapes, photograph urban landscapes, shoot selfies— anything and everything!

What camera should I use?

Honestly, I think the iPhone is the best camera. Why? It is always with you, you can quickly review and select your best photos (editing), you can quickly post-process your photos, and you can most effectively share your art-works on your own website/blog!

All below photos shot on an old iPhone 6s Plus and the HUJI CAM app:

How do you know which photos to select?

One of the best things to study is contact sheets. These are all the photos I shot to get 1 photo I liked:

Tip: When you see a scene you like, “work the scene” (shoot lots of photos of the scene), and later when you go home, choose the photo you like the best!

If you like the photo, it is a good photo.

Follow your gut.

What I mean is this:

Don’t over-analyze your photos. If you look at your photo and you like it, pick it!

For example I love this picture I shot inside my apartment with Cindy, during sunset. I saw her eye poking through the shadows, and I asked her to hold up her hand. I photographed much on a RICOH GR II (with -1 exposure compensation), and I ultimately like the triangle composition which I discovered later.

A simple tip: hand-gestures and body-language make for stronger photos.


How to learn how to make better photos

LEARN FROM THE MASTERS >

It seems the adage ‘practice makes perfect’ is true.

I encourage you to start off in photography by simply shooting a lot, and self-learning via self-experimentation.

This is what I mean:

Shoot a lot, and don’t read any photo theory. After a few years of experience, THEN create your own theories based on your real-life experiences! And after you become experienced, read the theories of others (to discover new inspiration).

Also read that all wisdom from the master photographs of the past are simply tips.

Challenge all conventional wisdom, and be bold enough to pave your own path!

ERIC


Photography 101 >

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