Is My Camera Any Good?

What lens have you got on that?

I hate talking about gear when I am using it. As a long suffering wedding photographer I used to dread the approach of the serious looking old gentleman with a scuffed brown leather cased, 50’s vintage, camera round his neck. Usually he had just been fiddling with for at least ten minutes to take one photograph of his rather overweight, and definitely bored, wife in her best hat. I knew the inevitable question was coming.
‘What sort of lens have you got on that?’

‘That’ was usually a 6×4.5 Bronica film camera. We used to use medium format cameras because no one believed you were a pro with a 35mm SLR
My reply was often a completely genuine, ‘I don’t know.’
I could see him debating as to whether to rush off and exclaim to the bride that she had booked a complete idiot to take her wedding pictures, or whether to tell me not to be such a sarcastic bugger. Continue reading

The Concept – Taking Better Photographs

Taking better photographs depends on a lot of factors. I recently took part in a critique where a photographer put up a technically perfect but aesthetically boring picture of a nude. He commented that he had no concept or message when taking the picture but would like to do more ‘artistic’ work. I suggested that if he worked on having the former then the latter might naturally flow. Continue reading

Exposure Settings

Camera exposure settings are taken care of by the Auto or Program features on your camera most of the time. Sometimes the auto system get confused and need a little human help. Download these PDFs to find out how to set your camera for the optimum exposures.

Sunset in Crete - camera exposure settings

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Photographic Composition

Composition This link will open a free downloadable illustrated PDF on composition.

Composition or Technique – which is the most important?

Please note: All images and text are copyright Simon Pocklington. The PDF is free to download but no distribution or reproduction is allowed for commercial gain or via any website run for profit. If in doubt and to avoid a large claim for damages contact the author prior to distribution via the contact page on this site, www.viewfinders.org.uk or www.viewfinders.zenfolio.com

Composition or Technique?

A lot of people feel that they are missing something if they do not know about the technical aspects of photography. They worry what all those f’s and hundredths mean; is there some black art to which they have not been initiated? What you should be worrying about is composition.

When I type on this computer keyboard words appear on the screen. I know very little about the technical process that makes this happen and it has very little effect on the quality of my writing. If this is rubbish it is because I typed rubbish (no comments please). If the computer has enough capacity to do the task, I have the right programs installed and I know which buttons to press, that is all I need to know.

Modern digital cameras have brought photography to the same level. Automatic exposure and focusing systems have freed even professional photographers from a lot of the technical aspects of picture taking; letting us concentrate even more on the picture.

Yes, I know there are times when human intervention into the automatic controls is required – more on that in another post.

The biggest single factor in producing a ‘good’ picture is not technical expertise, it is not even the subject, it is how you place that subject in the picture – the composition.

Composition This link will open a free downloadable illustrated PDF on composition. Please note: All images and text are copyright Simon Pocklington. The PDF is free to download but no distribution or reproduction is allowed for commercial gain or via any website run for profit. If in doubt and to avoid a large claim for damages contact the author prior to distribution via the contact page on this site or www.viewfinders.zenfolio.com

Why do you take photographs?

Why do you take photographs? This is a question of often ask students and occasionally ask myself. It seems a bit of an odd question when first asked but I find that the answer is different for many people and there can be multiple reasons.  The answer also effects the techniques you need to learn and more importantly the equipment you might need to buy. Continue reading