Starting Out Simple


If you are new to photography, Conchita Fernandes talks about the importance of setting simple targets.

Let me take you back to the time you purchased your first camera. What was it? A compact? A DSLR? Now try to recollect what the first few months were like with it. In fact, let me help you with that. What was the first picture you made? I think I may know the answer. Was it a self portrait of you in the mirror posing with the camera? I am sure it was. Now, what were your pictures like after this? Do you have a favourite one or did you make your most beloved photograph a year later? Think.

I want you to be honest with me. Let’s admit that most of us knew very little about our first cameras. Yet, we would take it everywhere with us. At that time, our pictures depended on knowing how to operate the power and shutter release button. The other switches, modes and dials were just there in case we needed to experiment. Yet, we would set out of our homes on the quest of photographing the most spectacular-looking landscapes or even meeting the mighty decisive moment!

Having said this, I am not here to let you down. I don’t think that there is anything wrong in experimenting with subjects of this nature, but I think you need to slow down or maybe pace yourself. Why don’t you start with something simple? Take some time out and visit a garden or a park. Make pictures of the plants and insects there. Or what about your home? You can easily find ten subjects worthy to photograph. Then, practice, practice and practice. Learn to focus correctly, see how different lighting conditions can change the nature of your subject, find out what happens when you reduce the shutterspeed of your camera, try shooting macros of the same insects and flowers you made pictures of previously… Once you get these basic things covered, it is then that you can proceed to creating the slightly more complicated pictures that first drew you to photography. Like those beautiful blurs or long exposure shots of star trails.

But remember that before you go out to shoot, clear your mind. Don’t create a quota of images that you have to make for the day. Let the moments happen. Sometimes it helps when you don’t seek them, because it may so happen that you may end up trying too hard and missing the moment altogether.

Don’t forget that it is okay to begin with the simple things. You don’t have obligations or quotas to complete. For now, treat your camera like a learning tool, there is always time to fall in love with it later.

This article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Better Photography.

Tags: Camera, photography, subjects, Conchita Fernandes, photographs, may 2014, simplicity, Starting Out Simple, Honesty, Camera Features, Learning