Monday, October 17, 2011

On Becoming a Better Photographer - Part 5

Generate Maximum Bang for the Buck - The most cost effective things you can do to improve your images are:

Use a Decent Tripod - More images defects are a result of shake than poor equipment. Cost $25 and up.

Calibrate Your Monitor - A hardware calibration system (Datacolor or X-Rite) will make your imaging better in quality, more consistent and more easily reproduced. Cost $100 and up.

Use a Secure, Comfortable Camera Strap - This one might sound dumb or obvious but it’s one of the best investments a photographer can make. A poor strap will dig into your neck or shoulder and you’ll be more likely to want to leave your camera behind. Cost $10 and up.

Keep it Clean - Again, it might sound obvious but a clean sensor and lens are easy and inexpensive. A light thumbprint on your lens will reduce resolving power, contrast and apparent sharpness. Dust on your sensor will create large artifacts. Lens caps, shades and sensor cleaners all help. Lens tissue and cleaner is cheap insurance. Learn the right way to clean your sensor and NEVER use anything but products designed for that purpose. (For example lens cleaning fluid and lens tissue will damage your sensor.) Cost $5.00 and up.

Last, remember that content is more important than technical quality. Great images can be made on inexpensive equipment. Small prints can have great impact if done well. Larger prints can have even more impact but only when done well. A poor large print will only show up defects. The camera you have with you is better than the one you don’t. There are no rules. Look at as much work as you can from a wide range of image makers. Read. Become friends with Google. Find great blogs. Practice. Take lots of pictures. Share - Your pictures don’t do any good in a drawer.

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