Friday, February 18, 2011

Want to master your exposure?

Here's a touch of reality for people who are just learning photography. I apologize if I sound strict, but give it some consideration and don't be discouraged. I've written a great beginner photography guide and I'm available to answer questions via email or in the comments section of any post.

The digital age has many advantages, but also a lot of technology that makes for lazy photographers. I hear so, so often how someone would prefer to do something because it’s easier or faster. How can you expect to master any art by doing what is easiest and fastest? You can’t.


One reason I’m handy with a TTL light meter and can nail exposure and focus most of the time is because I started shooting film on old manual cameras. I don’t like digging out photos in Photoshop, I’d rather be outside with a camera than inside with the computer!

Imagine this for a minute, put your camera in Manual mode, turn off the auto focus and the LCD screen. Oh, and also, put in a really small memory card and shoot in raw so you only have about 30 shots. All of a sudden, you’re really thinking for every shot. You’re looking at the light meter, you’re double checking your focus, you’re being careful with composition.


In film, you’re limited to the number of exposures on a strip of film. Want to shoot 35mm? You have 24-36 shots. Switch to medium format, and you’re stuck with 12-15 shots. Get any larger than that and you could have only 1 or 2 frames to shoot. Oh, and did I mention that a roll of film costs upwards of $4-5 for those 12 shots. Or that sheet film is up to $1 a shot? I bet you’re not firing off anything without some thought at $1 a shot.

Now, stop imagining and actual try some of this. Grab a film camera. Change all those settings on your DSLR and forget the delete button exists.

Pushing yourself to get the right shot on the first try will make you a more efficient, intuitive and eventually, successful photographer.

To purchase film, I recommend Freestyle Photo. Film is a dying art, and Freestyle is dedicated to keeping it in production - often creating product lines to replace discontinued lines from Kodak or Polaroid. Please support them!


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