Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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54

The manual that came with your camera.


24

I'd agree with Peterson (e.g. Understanding Exposure). One I've found very useful is Michael Freeman's The Photographer's Eye - some excellent stuff about the composition of photos, with plenty of good examples, and very helpful diagrams.


21

I'm currently in a similar kind of a position (because of or despite the fact there is beautiful winter outside). And I think, as mattdm said, project is the way to go. But the hardest part in having a project is starting one. What helps me to get started is: Have a clean memory card, full battery and any lens attached to your camera. Leave your camera in ...


21

You need to analyze your "feelings" as to why a P&S isn't doing it for you and come up with concrete reasons that translate to camera features. If your general thinking is just that your pictures aren't pretty enough, then you're right to hesitate and do some more research. Cameras are simply tools. Taking the picture is still up to you, and in the ...


16

I have to say that the Scott Kelby book "The Digital Photography Book: The Step-by-step Secrets for How to Make Your Photos Look Like the Pros" was a digestible and easy page turner which is small enough for a beginner to lug around whilst still referring to situation specific shot suggestions. A little tongue in cheek in tone in places, but I found it ...


15

Understanding Exposure is great for helping understand the ins and outs of cameras. The Photographer's Eye is a good book about creating strong design elements in your photographs. Not a book, but Cambridge in Colour's tutorials are great at helping you understand the technical aspects.


15

Sounds like you need a project. The first thing you give to show your prior interest is a list of gear. And photography can be a fine hobby for someone who wants to focus on accumulating gadgets -- but sounds like that doesn't really hold your interest for very long. (Isn't that always the case with tech toys? Gotta keep buying the new thing!) Instead, ...


12

Follow @dailyshoot on Twitter. I did that for about a month, and having a daily 'assignment' was a great way to get me to take a picture every day (practice makes perfect, after all!) and to learn and try new things (would you believe, that's where I learned about DOF/bokeh?).


11

Gregory Crewdson (more) For the surreal mood and feeling he can craft in a photograph with his controlled lighting mixed with 'in situ' lighting. That and the storytelling nature of the photographs that cause you to linger on the image, wondering what the subjects are doing... or have done.


11

NO. Owning an expensive camera will not motivate you to use it. If you loved photography you would be doing it with anything you can. I take cell phone pictures all the time, because I just love taking photos. When I whip out my phone to take a picture though, I like to think I'm better at composition than your average cell phone photographer. Seriously... ...


10

I found Light: Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting really good book for photographers. After all photography is nothing but managing light. The chapters mostly use artificial lighting, but it is the concept building of why a particular setting was used makes the book informative.


10

Grab your camera Grab some film Take a picture. (optional) Repeat step #3 Also, consider not equating gear with photographing. Having a library card does not make someone a good reader.


9

Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order: "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst." ~Henri Cartier-Bresson "Photography is no more about equipment than writing is about word processors" ~Unknown "You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus" ~Mark Twain "Buying an expensive Nikon doesn't make you a photographer. ...


9

Michael Kenna inspires me the most. You can see his work compilation here. There's a short documentary on his techniques. His work exudes sophistication through simplicity. You sense the solitude, the etherealness, and tranquility, as if you were in the scenes yourself. "Six Sticks" pictured above, is one of my favorites of his. I emailed him a while ...


8

Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson is a great and easy to read book that covers these topics.


8

Instead of suggesting you different ways to wake your muse, I'd say let her sleep! :o) 3 months is hardly a big period to assume your interest in something has gone. Photography (as probably all forms of expression) is highly subject to personal questions that certainly can make you go up and down for periods like that. I know a bunch of people (me ...


8

One among many that's been hugely inspiring to me: Twin Cities Brightest He's got some really interesting light-painting work, much of which has interesting conceptual components to it, e.g. his "alien abductions" series, including this one: He also frequently shows how he does what he's doing, which is another way he's inspirational to me, e.g.: An ...


8

Look at as many other people's work as you can. Really look and then ask what you are drawn to, what fascinates you. You will be at the beginning of understanding the style and subjects that inspire you. Now set about unashamedly copying them. This will develop your skill in mastering the style and subject. From there it is a short step to developing your ...


8

If you have trouble to get excited, I can understand that you took the option to get some new gear to get kicked into a new creative mood. Unfortunately, this question needs a very personal answer, so allow me to try to throw a few options out here. I am a on-and-off shooter and take breaks sometimes for a month or more and then find something that kicks ...


7

"The best camera is the one you have with you." -- unknown (to me at least)


7

Scott Kelby's "Digital Photography" A great book to really improve your photography is Scott Kelby's Digital Photography. It's a hints and tips book, not a thorough working through of the principals, but I came away from it with a lot of really good solid practical things which I now include in my photography, so I'm sure it would be helpful.


7

I would suggest creating a multi-day schedule of events that can be repeated for different subjects. I don't think 15 minutes per day is worth running around looking for something to shoot. You'd get much more value if you divided the process into segments (one segment = one day = 15m). Possibly something like this: Segment 1 - Research a subject - ...


7

Henri Cartier-Bresson. Another 'old master' who is just as relevant as today as 70 years ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Cartier-Bresson


7

Shoot details such as leaves, rocks, plants, etc with rain on them. Shoot skys with the great clouds that thunderstorms usually have. Use the cloudy sky as a giant free diffuser and take soft portrait shots. If you are in an urban setting shoot people running around with umbrellas and through large puddles. Frame the image to remove the sky if it is ...


7

This may seem like a too-broad, unanswerable question, but it's really not. There are two possible answers. I can't tell you which will be right for you, but once I tell you them, I think you'll know which it is. The possibilities are: Even if you don't know what you are doing, go out every day and take at least a dozen photographs. Review your results, ...


7

The best motivation for buying any camera is when you run into the limitations of your current one. If you don't understand why you want certain features, and when you would use them, you're not going to use them. There is a serious drawback of a DSLR and that is the size and weight. I keep making pictures with my phone, because it is with me all the time. I ...


6

Like people say, the only real judge about that is you, however like the two Matt's I'll give you my "solution" to the problem. The funny thing is, my experience is almost the reverse of Matt's, I got into photography as the editor of my college newspaper and then let it drop after I finished school. It was digital that got me back into it with my first real ...


6

I usually go for a walk with my camera and I look at stuff, ordinary stuff, natural stuff, human made stuff, whatever... I ask "what's interesting in shape, line, color and/or texture about this stuff that people walk past every day and never pay attention to? Having found something, I ask "what's an interesting angle to view this from?", paying attention ...


6

The canonical answer would be "any photography magazine that doesn't have the word 'digital' in its title". That said, I have found the British magazines "Digital SLR User" and "Digital SLR photography" to be rather good. Either one, not both; they are rather similar.



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