Do Great Locations Mean Great Images

7 Building Blocks of Photography 2

This is live is one example of the kind of exercises we do on my highly interactive Cameras Don’t Take Pictures seminar. At a real event there are exercises to perform, lots of questions to consider and as participants share their ideas and insights, the whole group benefits from the many perspectives. This is hard to replicate in a live Youtube broadcast. None the less this broadcast has been hailed as one of our best so far.

We see amazing images of breathtaking locations all around us. But you have to remember these images are only the tip of the tip of the iceberg and we don’t see the work and thinking that went into making them. 

So is location enough? I think we’ve all seen appalling images of wondrous places, I know you’ve never done that, but I know I have. And that’s OK because there are times when we need to understand a location, to get a feel for it and find the best way to portray it to our viewers.

Taking test shots is a great way to do this. The test images might not be great, but they lead us to discover new ways of seeing, new ways of composing, using light, finding the right angle and moment to shoot. These are what brings a location to life. 

By the same token we can also ask. Is it possible to get interesting images from a ‘bad’ location? I’d say yes absolutely. Provided we ask ourselves the right questions and find the solutions to them... 

  • How do I want this to look?
  • Is the light appropriate?
  • How shall I compose it?
  • What focal length gives me the look I want?
  • How much sharpness do I want?
  • How light or dark do I want it?
  • When’s the decisive moment

These are what I call The 7 Building Blocks of Photography and once you’re in control of your camera, they work for any image you want to take. They are the foundation for a repeatable thought process that links the creative and technical aspects of photography and gives you your settings.

Sometimes we have to give up our expectations of the image we want to take because it simply isn’t there when we are and I address a situation where this happened to me at 16:20 in the video.

The most important thing in photography is not the camera, lens, sensor size or some other gadget - it’s You! The old time masters took stunning, powerful images on the most basic of cameras, why can’t you do that too?

It’s because we have all been conditioned to find a short cut, a hack, to buy more kit or software. Photography is a skill like any other - practice doing it and thinking like a photographer and you’ll master it.

If you’re starting out on your own wonderful journey of photography I can be your coach and teach you how your camera works, why you need to be able to control it, how to do it, how to see and use light and composition appropriately and lots more besides in my Masterclass in Photography.

Obviously knowledge is freely available online in many places, but wouldn’t it feel good to have an experienced teacher who’s been where you are to encourage you, feed you what you need in the correct order and demonstrate rather than go it alone? 

Untill next time...

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