Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wednesday Commentary: The Process

Think about your image making process for a moment, what do you do when you take a picture? Do you take your camera and point it at the nicest thing you see and hope for the best? Do you think about the area around what you want to photograph? Could the interest of the subject be improved by a close up, or by showing the area in which the subject is located? It simply boils down to this question, do you take a passive or active roll in the image making process?

The process of image making starts in the mind of the maker, akin to building a model ship. There are many elements to the process that begin before the shutter is pressed, and long before the files are ever loaded into editing software.

The next step in the process is figuring out exposure, depth of field and all the other technical aspects of making a photo. This is one area of photography that, from my point of view, is covered to death. There are many places you can find that will give you tips for this type of shot or that type of shot. The problem is that all the technical tips will not help you along in the creative aspect of the process. Having all the right technical knowledge in the world cannot replace the forethought that goes into an image. Find the image, then deal with the other parts.

The final step in the process is editing on the computer. During this step you can do many things with your image, things that could have been done or could not have been done in the camera. That is why I focused on creating the image before taking the photo. Sometimes you need to do things in camera, so that you can create the image you want in post processing.

So whats the point of all this? Remember to use your mind in the image making process, because what you see with your eyes can fool you. If you have ever seen a great shot, taken a few quick snaps, then downloaded the photos and looked at them, only to be disappointed, I think you know what I mean.