Photographing and tips

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
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Finland and my autistic mind.
I wrote something about photographing to another thread. And I want to write more. And more. And more...

And I'd love others to write about that topic too. That is why I decided to start a thread for that topic. So here you are! Photographing tips!

Share yours. I share mine. We can all share good links about photographing.

This is not a picture sharing thread. But pictures are very welcome to show what you mean.
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
Joined
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Messages
150
Location
Finland and my autistic mind.
Copypasted from "There will always be" thread.


Playing with ideas & humour with photographing helps me with stress. (There's a lot of that stuff to choose.)

And here's some tips for those who are interested about photographing.

1. Shadow is your most important tool. You make dimensions (visual, thematic, emotional..) with shadow.

2. Light is your second tool. You show & highlight things with light.

3. Optics is your third tool. It draws your pictures. Never buy a objective which does not make you happy.

(Light, shadow & prime. A lid of an ash bucket.)

Tuhka-astian kansi-1420.jpg

©Alan Aspie

4. Camera body is your fourth tool. All the bodys & marks are good. You need to find a body which suits your hands, your thinking and your workflow. Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Fuji, Hasselblad, Leica, Phase One... They are all good cameras - and so are the rest. It's more important that you and your camera work together well than that specs are good.

5. All good photographers look lazy.

6. Photographing is an art of reducing.

7. Don't photograph your target. Photograph it's relation to one other thing. "A photograph about a thing." Boring. "A photograph about the relationship and tension between these two things" Interesting. There might even be some kind of katharsis.


Writers Block-1785.jpg


©Alan Aspie

8. If you photograph people, take a picture of their personalities, not about how they look.

9. Tell, don't show with your pictures.

10. Go wild with your imagination.

Keitetty peikko-1813.jpg


©Alan Aspie

The point of these tips is to give tools to take photographing close to your writing. Same but different.
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
Joined
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Messages
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Finland and my autistic mind.
Write a story with one picture. Tell, don't show.

There is a story in everything. You cut it so that there is part of a story before shooting and the rest before that. Those parts form in the imagination of members of your audience.

Choose your depth of field to help your cut. You arrange timeline of imagination + feelings with your thematic and visual decisions.

Tuning.jpg


©Alan Aspie

The way you use light and shadow should work for your timeline cuts. It's a bit like if light told you the good future and shadow what has been - or otherwise.

Lukiiolainen kirjastossa-1546.jpg

©Alan Aspie

You focus on your point and blur the rest. That gives you a mini story.

And sometimes you let your audience to form the story. You just inspire them to do that with some kind of emotional or informational load.

Takkatuli-1621.jpg

©Alan Aspie
 
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Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Finland and my autistic mind.
Shoot RAW

Dynamic range of RAW files is a lot bigger than jpegs have. Use it. That way you can find visual elements from both bright (sky, light, reflections...) and dark (shadows, dark areas...) parts of your photos.

Katukuvausta-1329.jpg

©Alan Aspie

Find yourself a RAW converter which suits your gear, wallet, style and work flow. Lightroom, DPP, RAW Therapee... What ever suits you.

Make converting part of your thinking and work flow so that you know how you are going to convert when you are shooting. Don't shoot too tight. You can under- or overexposure while shooting if that helps your converting.

Think what is your story, your emotional input or your point before shooting. Make it visually important and other things less important, blur, distant.... And highlight that while converting. Build tension between main thing and something else. Emotional, visual, thematic... any kind of tension. Red and blue, wet and dry, near and far, warm and cold.... What ever. And highlight that tension while converting.

When you combine your shooting and converting well, you can shoot in difficult situations.

Aukko ja taivas-1582.jpg

©Alan Aspie

Early night or late evening after sunset. No monopod. No tripod. Shot while standing. Sharp enough. Not too much noise. I would not be able to do that without thinking shooting for some kind of converting.

Or very difficult mixed light. And not enough of it. If you have an idea what and how you are going to do while converting you better understanding about what you can do while shooting. (ISO, f-stop, time, noise, colour balance...) Like here.

Tapani Bagge. A man with 109 traditionally published books. (Can be more now.)

Bagge.jpg

©Alan Aspie

Shoot RAW. Convert. And destroy 95% of your photos. Pay attention only to the most important files. And shoot 20 times more than you need.

Writing is rewriting. Photographing is revisualisation. Your RAW file is your Shitty First Draft. It's your Vomit Draft. Converting is your rewriting, your revisualisation. It's your editing rounds. Do it. Learn to do it. Make it your habit.
 
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Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
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Messages
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Finland and my autistic mind.
Fail often. Make your training difficult. Push your limits.


Do what you can't do. Fail in it. Do it again. Fail again. Push your limits. And delete what you got until there is something worth saving.

Walk. Take your camera and one prime lens with you. Try to see everything like you needed to photograph things with that lens. Anything visually worth photographing? Or emotionally? Or any theme or subject worth shooting? Well... Shoot. Shoot more. Think. Feel. Shoot more.

If you really want to get your gear familiar and your way to shoot better, take your camera and one lens to night walks. But do not take tripods or monopods with you. You must use your timer, your strap, your environment and yourself as a tripod. And you must do it in dark. Your fingers must know what to do without you seeing well.

99% of your photos will be trash. But then you start to get some kind of grip of your gear & thinking & shooting. And then you get something you like.


Valkoinen silta-0994.jpg

©Alan Aspie

And then something more...

Mopon lamppu-0493.jpg

©Alan Aspie

And even more...

Kuuset taivasta vasten-1584.jpg

©Alan Aspie

Take your gear to dark, wet, foggy...

Sumuinen sade-0267.jpg

©Alan Aspie

...weather and environment. Fail there. Fail more until you start to get something you like.

Fail it till you nail it.
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Finland and my autistic mind.
You can photograph absence. A person missing is as good as a person present. You just need something which shows that it's about absence.

Tyhjä kuuntelipaikka-1547.jpg

©Alan Aspie

And an important tip:

Anyone can share his or her tips. This is not meant to be my personal thread. Good tips are always welcome - with a picture or without.
 

Overread

Searching for a flower
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Hunting in the woods
I always find it tricky to give generalist "tips" without context - I do better at critique where there's a photo providing some context; or a question where there's, again, context from someone seeking advice :)
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
Joined
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Messages
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I always find it tricky to give generalist "tips" without context - I do better at critique where there's a photo providing some context; or a question where there's, again, context from someone seeking advice :)
To me it's upside down. Easy to give general tips but I really don't want to give critique.
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Finland and my autistic mind.
Use motion blur to show motion.

If you do, you must get sharp areas sharp. And you need to separate motion blur from bokeh. (Bokeh is the quality of unsharpness out of depth of field.)

You can train it with anything that moves in a way that you can predict.

Pianosormet-2078.jpg
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
Joined
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Messages
150
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Finland and my autistic mind.
Talk with other photographers

When possible, go and talk with other photographers. You might learn something or get new ideas or get inspired or... something.

But don't disturb them while being social. Be humble but share your skills.

Chance your skills. They get something. You get something.

This was shot last night in one of the biggest cities of Finland. I went there just to shoot night and people - present and not.

An unknown female photographer shooting a picture of her mobile with her camera. And me shooting her. I had only few seconds time to shoot that so I messed with that light above her hat and hand. Should have noticed it.


Yökuvaaja-2534.jpg

©Alan Aspie

(I forgot to put my @ -mark to that piano snapshot. But it's my.)
 
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Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
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Messages
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A very good thread Alan. All good knowledge. I just worked through it.
Thank you. if you have good - or bad - tips, they are welcome.

Next:

Have fun with your imagination. See the things that are not there and then make them visible to others.

There are some strange embellishments in one roundabout. They look a bit weird. But if you take 20mm lens (FF body) in the evening and go inside that roundabout you can exaggerate that weirdness. And if you overemphasize it while converting you get an attack of the man eating triffids.

No photoshopping, just a bit heavier touch with a RAW converter.

Shot yesterday evening maybe an hour before that "female photographer shooting her phone" -picture on the same trip.

Triffidien hyökkäys-2499.jpg

©Alan Aspie
 
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Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
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Messages
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Take it if you like it.

You don't need to have big ideas, great symbolism, classical elements of art or anything else than your own want or need.

You like it? Take it.
It steals your attention? Shoot it!

Ruostunut P-2193.jpg

© Alan Aspie
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
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Areas of decisions

What is a photograph and what is just a snapshot? Who is a photographer of a picture? What photographers think and do? How?

(All this will be very subjective. There are other views and some of them are well based. But this is how I think it.)

There are three main areas of decisions which has to be made before you can call something a photograph and somebody the photographer of that picture.

There are thematic decisions. Theme, substance, what you are photographing.

There are artistic decisions. How you express that theme and/or substance.

There are technical decisions. How you can succeed in those thematic and artistic decisions.

Most often these three areas are in that order. Thematic ==> Artistic ==> Technical.

If these decisions have been made in a reasonably successful way, the result should be a photograph. Otherwise it's a snapshot or not even that. This is the view which is largely shared among pro's & professional evaluation. And this is also my personal view.

(And this is who pro's don't like when asked to evaluate amateur snapshots. What could they say? Lie? Or or insult people by saying that "this has something good, but it's not a photograph".)

A photographer of some picture is a person who has made artistic and technical decisions of that photo.

Theme might be given (by customer or employer or a friend or...). The artistic and technical decisions about how how to handle that theme are photographing.

A time trigger, a photo cell, an assistant or a computer might trigger the camera. That does not make them photographers if someone else did the artistic and technical decisions. This is very hard to understand to some people with less or none knowledge and understanding of photographing.

You can talk about a photograph when and only when thematic, artistic and technical decisions are well made and in balance. And you can talk about a photographer when you are talking about about person who did that balancing. That means you can have photographers without photographers and photographers without photographs.

So... What do you see here?

Kehräsaari-2515.jpg

©Alan Aspie

You see a snapshot - not a photograph but a snapshot.

I'm a photographer of that snapshot. So this is a non-photo with a photographer. Failing to succeed in thematic, artistic and/or technical decisions and handling them drops this out of a category of photographs to the category of snapshots. But those decisions have been made and balanced - just not successfully.

And you must do this - fail - to develop yourself as a photographer. And you must see and admit that you have failed. And you must learn from your mistakes and correct them. That's the way to learn photographing.

If you think you are good, you learn nothing. Narcissistic thinking does not work with photographing. Humble way does. See the mistakes you make. See how you fail. Do it again, with less mistakes this time. Or with new and more interesting mistakes!

(I think I'll write later about those 3 areas - thematic, artistic and technical. But I don't promise that.)
 
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Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
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Messages
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Your style is an extinction of your personality.

It should be your own, not a copied one. It can't develop well in a vacuum. It needs interaction. It needs to get challenged and it needs safe and it needs love and...

Let your style to tell about you. Don't tell everything but tell only what is honest and true.

You choose subjects, viewpoints, focus, timing, visual style, composition, visual arguments... and that is the way you share your inner world. You make part of it visual.

If someone sees you through twisted or dishonest way after that, it's their problem, not yours. Take distance to them.

If someone projects his or her inner world to you after that, take more distance. You can't fight against projective minds. They see your disagreement through those same projections - or worse. Let them live their lives as far from your life as you can. Don't fight. Don't flight. Be yourself and let your character grow while their characters do what ever they do.

If you grow, your growth takes you elsewhere without you needing to flight. Growth takes you forward. Your life is there.

Go your way. Stand your ground but do not try to occupy any other ground. Other grounds you visit, your ground you stand.

Let people see your world view throug your way to watch life, universe and everything.

Huopalukko ja avain-2643.jpg

©Alan Aspie

The development of your style is like the development of your character. You can steer it but the main impact comes from obstacles and how you handle them. And when you do, you don't get rid of obstacles. You kind of choose your path and the next obstacles which are waiting on that path. And those obstacles let you grow more. And then next obstacles...


 
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Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
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Messages
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Shoot what you don't know.

Persons, animals, landscapes, urban and rural life... Shoot it.

Lousy hard light? Shoot. Wind, snow, boiling hot, cloudy? Shoot.

If you need to ask can you shoot, then ask and shoot. (This dog was training agility and gave me a permission to shoot and publish here.)

Just go and see. You can't shoot what you don't see.

agilitykoira-2940.jpg
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
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Messages
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Get close! Talk with everyone!

If you want to write, you need to be able to talk with everyone. It's important to see a person as he or she is and to help them open their life to you.

You ask. You act in a nice way. You keep your word. They can trust you if you are trustworthy.

All these were shot today with the same lens - 85/1.8. Several different people with very different lives and situations.

Some have had a very light touch with my RAW converter. Few... well... a lot more. I had very little time with all the photos.

Street photography, one day.

Sininen Lambo-3089.jpg

©Alan Aspie

tyttö kantaa lasta-3094.jpg

©Alan Aspie

Kuopiolainen asunnoton2-3116.jpg

©Alan Aspie

Jäätelöhuppari-3113.jpg

©Alan Aspie

Vanhempi lukija-3131.jpg

©Alan Aspie

Oksalla lukija-3141.jpg

©Alan Aspie

Ystävä katseessa-3144.jpg

©Alan Aspie

Tetratukkapunkki-3155.jpg

©Alan Aspie


(This baby is the only one who did not talk with me. I suppose she was a bit shy. All alone in a "big" city.)

Etukorin nukke-3143.jpg

©Alan Aspie


+ many more.


Don't contact just those who are similar with you. Talk with junkies. Talk with rich people. Talk young, old, shy, pushy, silent, talkative....

Every photograph tells a story. You can't tell if you don't listen & contact first.
 
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Alan Aspie

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Messages
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Make instead of take. Create instead of getting.

Don't just take a photo. Make it. If you have time to make decisions, then do.

What is your goal? How you can reach it? What is a theme in your photo? What is the the in your photographing? What is the difference between a theme of one photo and a theme in a process / hobby / job of photographing?

Think it. Think light and work with it. Think the subject and work with it. Colours, emotional atmosphere, composition, depth of field, bokeh, shadows, what is absent...

You are the creator of your photos. Don't just snap something. Create.

You don't take a photograph. You make it. (Ansel Adams.)


Vapiksen mies-2836.jpg

©Alan Aspie
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
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Messages
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Shoot RAW, learn your converter.

There's a big bunch of different RAW converters. Pick one. Use it. Learn it.

You can enhance your photos in several ways. And when you learn to take converting and your goals in it into account before & while shooting, you get a bit more room to wiggle.

I let Peter tell you about this. He can do it better. He's talking about Lightroom, but you can pick any converter you like.



An example. Very hard light. Greasy skin with bad reflections. You want to get textures strong, but background smooth. With a RAW converter all this + big bunch of other things take only really short time.

Kuopiolainen asunnoton3-3122.jpg

©Alan Aspien
 
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