Thursday, August 19, 2010

Improving Your Photography Through a Committed Relationship

Paper bikes
So you want to improve your photography?  Here is a tip; your photography will improve through a committed relationship!  The relationship I am talking about is not a relationship with your wife, husband, boyfriend or girlfriend, but a relationship with your camera, and more specifically with a particular lens.
Green Suits
Many of us have a camera and several lenses.  There is a good chance that our lens kit includes more zoom lenses than prime lens (fixed focal length like a 50mm).  Continuing with the metaphor of a relationship with another person, zoom lenses can offer a good relationship, but there is some focal length in the range of that zoom that feels as though it is dealing with a cheating partner.  In other words, if you are shooting with a 24-105mm lens, 85mm feels cheated as you zip around between the very attractive 24mm and the cozy 105mm.  In the mean time, you have not fully realized all the benefits of a close and enduring relationship with 85mm.
Abu Dhabi Bike
My recommendation is to stop cheating…at least for a while.  Snapping on a prime lens, and leaving it there, is the best way to keep yourself from cheating and develop a committed relationship.  The idea is to stick to one lens (and one focal length) until you have mastered it.  By sticking to a single lens and focal length, and experimenting with it at the extremes of it’s capability, you will more quickly advance your skills.
Toeing the Line
While any prime lens will yield the same advances, I recommend a 50mm.  A 50mm lens is about the closest representation of what you actually see and makes critiquing your work a simpler task.  If you don’t have a 50mm lens, go get one.  For Canon shooters, this is about as cheap as it gets.  A new 50mm f1.8 II goes for under $100 and can be found used for as low as $50.  And by the way, this is a super sharp lens, is not imposing to your subjects (particularly if they are the eating, breathing, sleeping type).
During your period of monogamy, don’t take the 50mm off your camera even though the temptation may seem unbearable.  You will benefit from your committed relationship.
The photographs featured in this post are some street photography from Abu Dhabi, UAE.  All were taken with the Canon 50mm f1.8 II mounted to a Canon 5D.  The second shot, of the gardeners, was the most fun.  As I walked along the Corniche in Abu Dhabi, they were sitting on a bench relaxing and telling stories.  I asked if I could take a photograph, and they became very excited.  Sometimes just asking is all it takes.  They were very pleased to see themselves on the display screen of my camera.  The photograph also adds to the story I have been telling regarding immigrant labor in the UAE.  Click on the tags at the right to see more.
Have fun, and go make some great photography.

No comments:

Post a Comment