My field notebook
Week 2/ March 25-29
This is the second edition of a new segment I named “My field notebook” that I publish every Friday.
This is a space where I’m sharing my learning as a self-taught photographer.
Technical stuff: This week I continued doing street portraits with my Nikon D3100 using a prime 50mm 1.8 Nikkor lens. On the streets I was shooting in a semiautomatic mode because I prefer to give emphasis to the composition rather than get caught on the technical adjustments of the camera. To me, in these situations being fast is crucial. For widest angles I was using my iPhone 5, shooting straight from a black and white app.
A word on the issue of asking to take a photo: I see many famous street photographers that strongly advocate for the candid street portraiture style. That is shooting without asking and then just walking away.
I feel totally uncomfortable with that approach. To me is rude, even in the name of art! So, I keep asking and being honest with the reasons why I want to have their photos.
I frankly say: “I like your look, you are very cool, you look elegant, you have a unique style, you are very interesting, you have a gorgeous coat or a nice smile”…then I tell them photography is my passion. Sometimes I share my website coordinates or I just simple say “thanks a lot, have a lovely day”.
Yes, you loose the candid aspect of the whole thing. But this is again based on your motivation to do street portraits. Do you want to take a snapshot of the moment, or are you interested in the character and his/her story? The essence of the person is still there even if posing and that does not go away if you ask.
Searching for the wow factor: In this age we suffer from “the digital finger”, an illness that pushes a person with a digital camera to take photos of everything, even the most trivial things, overflowing the web with crap photography. With the uprise of iphoneography we all have the power to be photographers using Instagram and various applications. Cameras are cheaper now. It could be a good thing, of course, but when mixed with terrible criteria it could became a nightmare.
I did suffer from the “digital finger” when I started getting enthusiastic about photography and produced loads of crap as well. But luckily there is a cure and now I’m more hopeful for my future as a photographer than before. The key to overcome the digital finger is to search for the wow factor. Think of each photo as a master piece. Something you will be proud to show to generations to come. Something to impress humanity.
I still shoot mediocre stuff but I believe that as long as I try to find the wow factor my photos will become better and better. That means not only shooting things that I think are worth of a photo, but also only posting those that I consider the best.
Having less photos to post is OK. Giving quality a priority over quantity is now my new mantra!
Good Friday to all