Once upon a time a photographer was invited to have dinner at the home of a nice couple. During dinner the wife comments to the photographer “Your pictures are beautiful. You must have a great camera.” The photographer nods politely.
After finishing dinner the photographer comments to the wife “That was a fine meal. You must have some great pots!
The more I (Katie) learn about photography, the more I realize that there is a lot that goes into taking a picture. It is probably more accurate to say a good photographer “makes” a picture instead of “takes” a picture. Composition, lighting, focus, subject matter, are only a few of the subjects a photographer needs to consider. Being willing to put effort into getting the best shot is what really separates the pros from the amateurs.
I’m an amateur who is spending time and energy to improve my skills. I’ve taken classes and read many books about photography. I’ve slowly invested in new equipment such as a DSLR camera, a tripod, and even a new lens. It seems that the harder I work though, the more people compliment my camera. That is why I loved the little story about the pots!
Now I will readily admit that it is easier to cook a gourmet meal in a well equipped kitchen. With a nicer camera you can also make more adjustments that might result in a better picture. In both cooking and photography, you need to understand the recipe and have a willingness to work and be creative in order to yield the best results.
Here’s a fun little exercise – I have 3 cameras that I use:
Sony Cybershot 10.1 mega-pixels
(how did I take this picture you ask? With a very old digital camera that I no longer use. It is only 4 mega-pixels)
I decided to do an experiment. I thought it would be fun to compare the same shot from each of my three cameras. I set up a still life shot on my dining room table. I took a picture of the exact same subject, using the same lighting, while I was standing in the same position. I took each shot only seconds apart so there would be no difference other than the camera I used.
See if you can figure out which picture came from which camera. I’ll call this one experiment #1
I processed all 3 pictures the same way. I can see now that my angle was just a bit different on shot #2. Essentially, all 3 pictures are about the same but all of them were taken with different cameras. Care to venture any guesses? (I will reveal all at the end of the post.)
How about another set? Experiment #2
Which one is the iphone camera? The point and shoot Cybershot? The Nikon DSLR?
Ok, let’s do one last test: which one of these is the best shot? What camera did I use to get it? Experiment #3
Are you ready for the results? I want you to think about your answers before you scroll down to see what I reveal!
- the top photo was from my Sony Cybershot point and shoot camera
- the middle photo was from my iphone camera
- the 3rd photo was from my Nikon DSLR
- the top photo was from my iphone camera
- the middle photo was from my Nikon DSLR
- the 3rd photo was from my Sony Cybershot point and shoot camera
Are you surprised so far? I have to admit I was! The lighting looks a lot warmer in the iphone pictures. I think a lot of the reason is because you have to hold an iphone differently than a camera to get a shot and I think that gave it a better angle for lighting. I also think there just might be a bit of a difference with that camera when it comes to color. However, the iphone pictures are the least sharp when you inspect them closer. They still look pretty good though for a camera phone! The results from the point and shoot and the DSLR are quite similar. When you really look at them up close, you can see that the DSLR pictures are a little clearer. Generally speaking, I would say that all 3 photos in each group are all good though. They could have all been bad pictures just as easily though. I put some thought into how to set them up.
Experiment #3 – This was a bit of a trick because all 3 pictures were taken with my Nikon DSLR. I did this to illustrate that it isn’t just the camera that takes a good picture. The first picture is carelessly composed. There are chairs and the bottom of a painting in the frame and the subject really should have been shot with a tighter crop. The second photo isn’t all that spectacular either. Nothing is really done to show off the subject. The 3rd photo does a lot more to show off the fun colors and sizes of the bowls. All 3 were taken at the same time, same circumstances, by the same photographer (me) and with the same camera.
While owning a fancy camera is nice, it isn’t a necessity if you want to take good pictures. Taking some time to learn about and practice your photography skills will give you a lot more control when it comes to “making” a picture. There are some great resources to help you along the way:
- Candice Stringham Photography Courses. These are a bit pricey, but they are so worth it! She really gives you a lot for the money.
- Creative Techs Photography Class. I’ve heard good things about this one.
- Get it Scrapped! has some great photography classes taught by Katrina Kennedy. I just finished the class about kids and it was great!
- Digital Photography School has oodles of articles and tips on their site. One of my favorite sites!
- Rules of Good Portraiture is a helpful series of posts.
- Photofocus.com is another great resource to check out.
- Pioneer Woman’s photography blog is another must visit for me!
Be sure to check out the photography class posts here at The Daily Digi and remember to just have fun and try new things!
P.S. The Daily Digi is now on Facebook! We’d love to see who our fans are so come and join us! Also, be sure to check out this fun project that Steph teamed up with Cindy from Skip to My Lou on – a last minute printable advent calendar. So fun!