GOTTA GET THAT, THAT THAT (Picture)

“Write a blog post […] about your previous/current experience with photography.”

hmm *Glances over at art degree and design degree*

I guess you could say that I have some experience with the ART RELATED field of photography.

Make no mistake though; I am by no means an expert in photography! Photography is so much more than just snapping a picture. It’s a whole visual storytelling medium, and I’ve only just scratched the surface (as with every art medium). I’m a bit like a jack of all art trades, and a master of none. (Except for the art of being snarky. I am a master at that and couldn’t resist taking a jab at M-Dub’s art process requirement).

GMU Photography class

Hit ’em up with Style

My current style/experience with photography could be described as ‘in-the-moment’ capturing. I take a lot of photos with my phone. So many in fact, that I’ve run out of space on my One Drive. After thumbing through my phone ‘gallery,’ I’ve noticed that the most frequent subjects are my dogs, various bugs/animals, myself/my boyfriend, my friends, artwork, family, pretty scenery, interesting things I spot/things I want to show others, and things I have to remember.

I don’t usually have a particular mood that i’m trying to convey with my photos other than the mood of the moment. My main goal is to capture whatever is happening- a laugh among friends, a moment between a mom and her Doodle puppy, a really cool-looking bug that just landed in my face. Ya’ know. Daily life. Secondary to that goal is color, composition, nice framing, etc. Much of this can be tweaked in photo editing software post-shot, which is why it is not my main focus.

As far as my ability goes, I know the basics of composition, subject matter, lighting, etc., as well as the more technical aspects of photography such as aperture, f-stops, and shutter speed. I have a DSLR camera (Canon EOS Rebel T5) that I bought for photography class, but it never grew on me because:

1) It takes too long to adjust the camera settings. Yes, there are auto settings, but that defeats the purpose of using a DSLR. Plus, we were required to use manual settings.
2) It is near impossible to get candid/inconspicuous photos of people because a DSLR is very conspicuous! People tend to notice that you are taking a photo of them when you are shooting with a big camera.
3) It is unwieldy to carry around a big camera everywhere you go.
4) It is difficult to ‘shoot in the moment.’ By the time you have your big, complex DSLR camera ready, you’re too late. The moment is over.

For these reasons and more, I prefer to just use my phone’s camera. Current smartphones have amazing cameras built into them, which makes toting around a DSLR unnecessary for *most* occasions. (I’ll concede that there are neat effects you can do with a DSLR, such as taking a long exposure). Besides, the most important rule for taking a good picture is having a good eye! That doesn’t change, no matter what tool you use. My professor had some wise words to say on the matter, and it has stuck with me:

The type of camera you use is not what matters most. Who do you think will take the better picture- an amateur with the best camera money can buy, or a pro with a cheap, disposable camera?

Paul Bothwell

In other words, to be a pro you have to understand how to take a good picture. The fundamentals of any good photo will boil down to thoughtful composition, angles, lighting, depth-of-field, and rule-of-thirds. Even if you are trying to capture a quick moment, you still want to be mindful of where you’re aiming your camera. Most cameras have a grid-view now to help users intuitively center their shots.

Yet, even with built-in guides, it’s up to the artist to take a good photo, and that comes with practice. Even with the amount of picture-taking I do, there’s still room for improvement. After reading this week’s resources, I’ve been working on being more thoughtful with my approach to taking photos. I usually just aim and click, but now I am starting to think more about good vantage points and creating contrast with foreground/background. The assignment bank is full of visual tasks, so we’ll see how this week goes!


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Images tell a story- even a single image tells one. The artist already knows the story and can remember what the story was when they look back on the picture they took. But the viewer can probably tell a lot about the story too just by looking. They might not have all the details of the story, but they understand the feelings behind the story. Images convey moods. A selfie with someone close in the literal sense conveys warmth and closeness in the figurative. A moment where two people stare out into the distance conveys a feeling of reflection. And of course, any moment with a fur-baby floods us with love and happy feelings. These images thus create small narratives in our head. Here are a few of mine:

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Digital Storytelling 10 little narratives

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