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Glen Pitt-Pladdy :: Blog

Photography HOWTO: Main Contents

I once again got asked how to use a camera to take good photos. I guess that's what comes of being a commercial photographer. I's not something that I can answer in 5 minutes, so to build a basic reference for everyone (and get some extra traffic for my blog), I am kicking off a series of blogs which you can follow to lay down the basics of taking a decent photo using a camera beyond the basic automatic modes. To produce good quality commercial work requires far more than this and not something I can probably explain on a blog - it requires a load of experience and far more in-depth knowledge.

What makes a photo great is almost all the skill of the photographer (or on some occasions people manage it purely by chance). The part the camera plays is only as a tool - provided it does not restrict what the photographer can do with their skills, it does not really contribute, and most certainly will not compensate for lack of skill.

The late Lord Lichfield used the analogy of a painters brush, and I think this is an excellent way of explaining it. An unskilled painter with the best brush that money can buy will still not be a good painter. Likewise, the best painter around will be frustrated and produce sub-standard work with an unsuitable brush. The brush (or camera) just needs to be good enough that it is not limiting the painter's (or photographer's) skill, but it won't make up for lack of skill in the first place.

I am aiming to start by covering the basics of camera controls, take a look at composition (which can be done with any camera - even mobile phone cameras), lighting (again something for any camera), then probably look at basics of choosing cameras (it helps to have a basic understanding of photography first), and then probably mop up various questions along the way.

I also want to have a look at Black and White - something I loved doing in the lab, happily slaving away for hours in front of an enlarger and trays of chemicals, and how classic Black and White technique is now more relevant than ever in a digital age, and possible to emulate without all the mess and chemicals.

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