I got a new camera. It’s my first interchangeable lens camera, and I’m sorry I didn’t get one years ago. I am not a very good photographer, but even bad shots look better with this camera.
The above picture was taken in Kennebunkport. It’s been color-enhanced by Google, and there is probably too much water in the shot, but I like it. It was a beautiful crisp late fall day in Maine, the wind was calm, and the above is just the way I remember it.
I am reading more about photography and starting to look at pro’s photos to understand how to make better pictures. So far I’ve learned the following:
- Lots of pictures. Take lots of different pictures, but also set the camera to burst-mode and take a bunch of each picture. You never know if there will be a small change in expression or if someone blinked, and taking several shots of the same picture can make the difference. Also, holding down the shutter causes less camera-shake than pressing the shutter, so second and third shots are likely to be sharper.
- Critical evaluation. Figure out what went right or wrong. My #1 problem is that I don’t notice the background while I take the photo. Too often there is a pole sticking out of someone’s head, or there are distractions like garbage pails or the edges of cars. I could re-position myself to avoid all that.
- Make the whole picture interesting. When I look at Vivian Maier’s pictures, the composition is fantastic. Every picture is clearly about its subject, but there is something interesting everywhere you look (texture on building walls, the shape of cars, street crowds, signs on buildings, reflections in puddles or windows).
Being good at #3 is a key difference between an amateur and a pro. Maier was technically an amateur. If you never read about her, look her up. The story is amazing. She would have been one of the most celebrated street photographers in history had she pursued it as a career.
I relate to street photographers because my family has no patience to pose for portraits. I get them to pose for a second when we go someplace special, and the photos capture them and the moment.
I don’t have much interest in photographing anything else. Occasionally I’ll take a shot of the sign over a restaurant we visited or a landscape shot, but just as a rememberance. Otherwise I only want to take pictures of the people I care about.
The photo above was taken on a bridge that separates Kennebunk from Kennebunkport. We walked over it while sightseeing during their Christmas Prelude celebration. My family visits Maine each summer, and this was the first time we were there in cold weather. Maine is photogenic all year round.