Photographer used to be hassle in the old time. Start from selecting the film (iso and the amount of contents), can’t see the result before it is printed, and the lack of reference to learn from. Today’s photographer is much more comfortable, sophisticated camera, the picture can be seen directly, editable easily and easy to share. Nowadays anyone can be a photographer, even with a phone camera. Isn’t it? So what is the hassle being a modern photographer?
Let’s think about what the essence of photography, without any digital frills. From the beginning, essentially photography is the art of taking pictures with the light. Here, basically, we need to master the understanding of fundamentals of photography, namely exposure, which is become the reference of a right photograph, over or under. Mastering exposure is not enough, photography has always relates to capture a moment, the timing and the best time to photograph.
Often, we want to tell about something in a photograph, then practice to get picture at the right moment needs reflexes, experience, intuition also luck. Landscape photography also need to think about the ideal time to get the best lighting. Another fundamental thing in photography is to understand the focal distance and also the depth of field (and get bokeh), formerly the lens even still manual focus but the photographer should be able to master the technique required in order to not waste the film due to out of focus photo.
In this digital era, the things listed above will still need to be controlled by us, even if nowadays camera would have been completely automated, such as auto exposure and auto focus. Unfortunately, it is also difficult to understand how a modern camera work due to a lot of setting/camera menu and manuals that are not easily to understand. In fact, to maximize our camera (even though we’ve automated cameras), we still need to understand about the various settings, such as metering and auto focus (including servo focus and choose a point / focus area). Each photo could be need different settings, eg for images or footage of action we need to set to continuous auto focus servo and continuous drive mode to shoot well and to shoot a landscape we only need single servo AF and self timer for 2 seconds.
Well, let’s go back to the fundamentals that had been discussed. You would often see a nice photo, either in print or on the internet. What makes you judge that a nice photo? According to the theory of photography to get a good photo of course need to pay attention to various aspects (in accordance with the purpose of photography) as the main subject of elections, the composition (and the election focal lens), camera angle and also the photographer foresight in seeing. This is termed the art of seeing, or vision. Photographers should also keen to see the direction of light, colour, moments and of course an interesting composition. Furthermore, we have to get an imagination so we can imagine the shape, scale, perspective to the story in the photo you want to take. That’s why, sometimes we find someone with an ordinary camera can take very nice photo.
Indeed when all the things I mentioned above can be mastered, then even in small resolution for website / social media (eg size of 800 × 600 pixels), it would not to be problem, a good photo will still looks good. Well, the hassle is modern digital cameras already have a sensor with (too) much pixels. Why bother? The more pixels, even if it means more picture detail, also needs to be balanced with higher engineering discipline of photographing.
The simplest example is noise visible at high ISO. In a small size noise does not visible so much, but in large printed or take a look in larger monitor, noise will be appear. Then stability when shooting become increasingly important. So here is the challenge we have to be able to photograph that included sharp, not just acceptable sharp. Support features stabilizer (IS / VR, etc.) and a tripod is more important here. Not to mention when dealing with high contrast, we must understand the limitations of the dynamic range of the camera sensor, how many bits its RAW file and what its effects on our pictures.
So, what is the conclusions of this article? Yes that photography is really fun and it was true, but it also needs to be balanced with a good understanding of the equipment, on the basic theory of photography and also about shooting technique. Also modern photographers need to know little more about the world of computers as well as a discussion of JPG, compression, megabyte also understand the principles of editing on a computer with all its settings.
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