We are midway through January, National Hobby Month, and hopefully you are falling in love with photography as a beginner, or discovering a new interesting aspect to your continuing love for photography. For the latter, as I mentioned in my previous article (Inspired Photography), It’s very important not to fall into the trap of creative redundancy where you keep doing everything the same way to the point of losing inspiration. In this article, however, the pursuit of interesting subjects will rule the day.
If you look at photographs, for the sake of appreciating the skill and effort that went into creating the image, odds are that when you pick up a camera, you will choose to pursue that particular genre of photography that interests you most. Landscapes, wildlife, pets, fashion, glamour, candid street photography, artistic composites, or whatever possible combination of visually stimulating subject matter you can imagine, don’t be afraid to chase it with ambition.
If you’re a beginner, concentrate first on photography fundamentals. Exposure, Composition and Contrast are a few good basic fundamentals to start with. If those words mean nothing to you in the field of photography, quit and take up pottery as a hobby. Of course I am kidding. What you should do is buy a Beginner’s Photography book or scour the web for specific topics and tutorials. You would be amazed at what you can learn on YouTube. Master the basic fundamentals before you start trying to get too fancy with your desired subject of interest. If you are interested in working with people as your subject (portraiture, for example), practice on family and friends before you go out and start pursuing people in public to take their photo. Hone your craft with those around you who support your new hobby. Once you have filled the walls, mantels and end tables with photographs of your family and friends, go forth and improve your skills in the public realm.
If you are experienced in photography, National Hobby Month would be a great time to try a form of photography you have always wanted to experiment with but never chased the opportunity. If you have always been focused on Nature photography, and you’ve wanted to try the challenge of photographing people, I say go for it! Of course that process applies in reverse as well. Mix things up a little to broaden your interest level in subjects important to you. I know a guy who was constantly photographing beautiful women (most of them perfect 10s) for roughly three years straight. Every week he would post new shots of beautiful women on the web. Who could possibly get tired of photographing beautiful women all the time, you wonder? Well, he did, and it’s not as strange as one might think. Today he is earning a respectable amount of money with his iPhone shooting and selling landscape, nature and HDR images using a mobile app called instacanv.as. He still photographs the occasional beautiful woman with his DSLR, but the point is that he found a way to balance his photography subject interests without burning out his love for photography altogether.
If you’re completely content in the direction you are going with your photography, yet you need some kind of change, you may want to explore and experiment with specific aspects in your particular photography interest. A very easy way to accomplish this is to create a Challenge Chart for yourself. Set up a project calendar of guidelines (challenges) to follow for each particular project. The topics can be vague so as not to limit your creativity. Label a project Textures and use that as a challengeable theme for your shoot. More labels could include the color Red, Reflections, Water, Ambient Light, Fisheye Perspective… I think you can see where I’m going here. Not only will this keep your subject interesting, but it will improve your photography. It will enhance your style, or help you find your personal style of photography. The Challenge Chart idea is also a great method of learning and improving for beginners.
Today is my three-year anniversary as the Sacramento Photography Examiner. I know my activity has been sporadic over that length of time, but I really appreciate all of you who have continued to read, share, and comment on my work (writing AND photography) here on Examiner.com. It is appreciated more than you know.
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