“I don’t use an exposure meter. My personal advice is: Spend the money you would put into such an instrument for film. Buy yards of film, miles of it. Buy all the film you can get your hands on. And then experiment with it.That is the only way to be successful in photography. Test, try, experiment, feel your way along. It is the experience, not technique, which counts in camera work first of all. If you get the feel of photography, you can take fifteen pictures while one of your opponents is trying out his exposure meter.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
At opening receptions, the conversation often turns to questions such as: “How do I take better pictures?” How can I get my work into galleries?” Some advice:
Always wear your camera.
Always wearing my camera allowed me to capture cousin Kim talking to Lucky.
When you’re out making pictures, put your phone in airplane mode and leave it in your pocket.
If I’d been looking down at a phone, I would have missed this gentleman’s gift of humor to us at the 1987 World Series.
What’s his sign about? Click here.
As photographer Edouard Boubat said, “If you keep your head up and your eyes and your heart open, there is a gift waiting for you at the corner of every street.”
We make pictures. Describing what we do as “making” pictures recognizes that we are creating, and is more peaceful than saying “shoot” pictures, or that we go out “shooting.”
What’s the best camera? The one you have with you. How you see - and how you use whatever you already have - are more important than what camera you use.
Books, not more gear. Instead of buying a new camera or lens, seek inspiration from books. These have taught me so much and refined my vision over the years:
The Eye of Eisenstaedt: How a Great Photographer Sees - Alfred Eisenstaedt. A must for every photographer.
Ground Time by Kent Reno
David Kennerly’s Photo Op
The Road to Seeing by Dan Winters
Jim Marshall’s Proof
Jon Lewis: Photographs of the California Grape Strike, by Richard Steven Street.
Dan Roam’s The Back of the Napkin examines the way we see.
Print your work. Because looking at physical prints is essential to growing as a photographer, print your pictures on paper, even if you use a digital camera. When you’re done, set your prints aside. Come back to them in a day or so, and think about your work again.
Want to sell your pictures to galleries and news media? Show your work at a portfolio review. Be sure to prepare before you go. How do you prepare? Click here to listen to some tips.
Bonne chance, et bonne lumière!
“It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument.” - Eve Arnold