My approach is this: Every photograph must go through three distinct phases. Every photograph.
These are the phases:
The planning phase. This about thinking before hitting the shutter button. Just what are you photographing here? The whole view? Do you want to include that messy foreground? And the ugly fence? Will moving a couple of paces to your left give a better shot? How about waiting until the people from the coach party have moved out of shot? Or for the sun to get a bit higher.
When you decorated your lounge, did you buy a pot of paint without thinking about the colour, and a brush without thinking about the size? And then sort of slap it around a bit? Well then.
…and now you hit the shutter button, having thought the photograph through. You’ve taken a meter reading, decided on which lens and camera settings are likely to give you the composition and depth of field you’re after. Tripod or no tripod? Any filters needed? Fine. Do it.
And now, do it again, but just a little bit differently. A free lesson: Take the shot – and then take it again. If you take two shots, one is likely to be better than the other, isn’t it? So, by taking two, your chances of getting the shot are that bit higher, aren’t they?
Well, what are you going to do with the shot, then?
For some reason, a lot of people seem to neglect this vital aspect of photography. They will learn how to use their kit, plan the shoot down to the last detail – and end up with an inferior image because they didn’t bother to finish it.
Every digital image, almost without exception, needs some work. Internal camera settings can deal with the slight focus softening that affects every digital shot, and you can ask the camera to boost saturation, or take a mono shot, or… Or you can learn to do it properly. While working on a decent sized screen, without rain dripping down your neck or bright sunlight preventing you from seeing the two-inch screen on the back of your camera.
And anyway, isn’t it better if you decide how the final image will look, rather than letting the camera make that decision for you? Is the shot for web use? Or will it be a poster on your wall? Or a Christmas card? Or all of these?
Each variation will need different treatment in post production. Spots on your lens or sensor may need to be removed. And unsightly trees growing out of the heads of brides. Shadows may need lightening, colour casts correcting, horizons straightening.
That, roughly, is my approach to photography. And what my students learn. As well as the college and distance learning courses I run
the post-production process