Are you on Facebook? I am. I live there. It’s my second home. And I am an attention seeker. Whenever I put a status and get atleast 1 “like”, I enter into a state of bliss hitherto unknown outside of the community of stoners.
And Brazilian men.
Brazilian women are ridiculously attractive. I would insert pictures of these women here, but none of them are too family friendly. If you want to see why Brazilian men are the happiest men on the planet, google for images of Brazilian women yourself.
Pro-tip : Keep safe search to moderate and don’t switch it off.
Anyway, I am a loser by definition (considering how much time I spend on Facebook). So you can only imagine my surprise when I discovered that there were worse losers than me on Facebook. The first thing I asked myself when I discovered that was : “Is that even possible? Can there be people who are more attention-seeking than you dude?”
Apparently, yes. Let me introduce the Photographers of Facebook.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against people who snap photos. I do it myself, though of the 1000 odd pictures I’ve clicked, maybe 30 are phenomenal. I’m no good at it.
I do have a friend who is extremely awesome at it. His photos are mostly unedited to a fair degree and look natural and realistic. Summation : He’s a great photographer.
But then there are these people who are not nearly as good as him. Yeah, I know this is a touchy subject. I know its all artistic so you can’t judge what is good and what is bad. What may not appeal to me may appeal to other people. I agree.
But certain things are non-negotiable and downright fucking true. If you want to be a good photographer, you have to stop :
1. Getting expensive DSLRs, and expensive DSLR accessories.
This is the thing that bugs me the most. I have a Nikon D3000, which is about as basic as DSLRs come. My sister gifted it to me and I don’t criticize her for that.
I love my camera and despite what it’s main use its supposed to be, I mostly use it for making time-lapse movies. I do this because I’m simply no good at photography, which I’ve accepted, and I do enjoy making a few 30 second movies.
I also know I’m killing my camera’s shutter life by clicking so many photos so frequently, but that’s not the point. The point is, if you are a newbie to DSLR photography but you think you’ll be awesome at it since your pictures from your point-and-shoot are already wicked awesome, then you’re wrong.
You won’t. I don’t know what defines a good picture or what makes a good photographer, but getting it into your head that you’re the prodigal son of photography is silly. This sounds negative and arrogant, but think about it. Photography is, like any other skill, a time-based one. You become better at is the more you indulge yourself in it. Clicking photos of family reunions or college parties or during the occasional “photo-walk” will not make you a good photographer.
It makes you a fool who has spent a lot of money on expensive equipment that you may lose interest in later on.
2. Over-editing pictures
This is another thing that motivates me to be all pedantic and nit-picky about something I don’t know much about. Seriously dudes, even as a complete ignorant layman, I know that this picture is not what I would see in real life :
That’s called over-editing. It’s a HDR composite image, which is fine. But that’s seriously artificial and fake looking. Here’s another picture that’s over-saturated :
I don’t even know what that is, but its just..pictures like this annoy me. If people want attention as a good-photographer, then it’s better they don’t use filters (or over-use them).
It makes pictures look shitty and motivates people like me to say bad things, get it budding photographer guy/girl?
3. Creating pages on Facebook for yourself
This is the icing on the cake. So you clicked 100 pictures on your brand new shiny DSLR. You figured out what the hell ISO is and know what to do when there’s too much noise in low light situations.
So you say “Let’s create a FB page for myself. I’ll be popular and hopefully will wake up covered in photography groupies.” And you do it.
Doing that is dumb on a variety of levels :
Firstly, no one cares. Seriously, unless your photos are of subjects people usually don’t expect to see (like a downward image of the Matterhorn or fishes jumping out of water), then it’s boring. You’re a standard issue photographer who does the things mentioned previously and there’s a million people like you.
I don’t want to (seriously) sound arrogant but let me put it this way : I know that I’m nothing special in the blogging world because there’s a million bloggers like me and a million blogs like mine. Not everyone can end up like Mashable.
Similarly, not everyone can be Lynsey Addario. Face it and stop searching for ego-gratification because you blew money on DSLRs and lenses.
Secondly, what’s the point? Do you expect photography people to come searching for you and winding up and going “aah, ooh” when they see your (ahem) portfolio? That’s not going to happen because the odds are small.
Thirdly if you’re going to say it’s just a hobby, then atleast be creative. Naming pages “XYZ Photography” if your name is XYZ or “ABC Photography” if your name is ABC is silly. On top of that, adding watermarks that say XYZ Photography or ABC Photography to your photos is absurd. It’s borderline retarded.
Sure the internet likes free things, and it wouldn’t be nice if people used your photos without crediting you..but watermarks? Really? Come on son.
And instead, you have to :
1. Think hard.
I’m simply not saying I know a lot about photography. I don’t. But that doesn’t disqualify me from saying that some people, or most of them, assume that a DSLR is simply an upgrade to a regular point and shoot camera. They assume that because it’s got a huge lens, or because it has 24 megapixels which is OMG, or simply because bigger is better.
That’s not true. Of course even absolutely shitty part-time wannabe photographers such as myself know that this isn’t true. But then I upgraded from a Kodak digital camera to my Nikon. Why would I do that? Mainly because I was gifted the camera.
If it had come down to me asking my parents to get it for me, I would have analyzed it a million times.
Is there any need for me to get a DSLR? Why do I need one? Why can’t I use point and shoots? Am I serious about it? Is it a fad? If its a fad, should I blow nearly a lakh on it? What are the returns?
And so on.
2. Use Photoshop or other software, to a mild degree
It’s summarily impossible to click perfect photos that satisfy you. It’s just a fact : No photo ever turns out perfect. But my yard-stick is, the shittier the original photograph, the more the editing. If it’s some god-awful blindness ensuing crappy editing, then I just know that the photographer is totally lame.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t edit your pictures ever. Sometimes toggling around with the basic shtuff, like contrast or brightness/gamma or the color curves is necessary more than anything. Doing that too much will ruin your photos.
3. Stop trying to build portfolios for yourself anywhere
No one cares. This is it.
4. Get into it seriously if you’re really interested.
People will care if you’re stupid good at it. And if you are phenomenally good at it and you know it (don’t listen to others, particularly family), then get into it seriously. There are a lot of art institutes in India and abroad that have (expensive) but totally legit programs on photography. Go and get a degree in it. Intern somewhere. Make a career out of it.
And please don’t tell me hobbies should remain hobbies. Photography is a show-off hobby that is also expensive. Unless you’re filthy rich, you usually need to and will make an investment unheard of in other hobbies (like rock collecting or eating different types of idlis available in India).
Do you disagree with me?
Politely comment below in acceptable, family-friendly Parliamentary language and we can discuss this like educated, classy, decent gentlemen.