Learn Photography

Learning Photography in Today’s Digital World

Now for Something Completely Different: Try Shooting it Like it Matters. Let’s try something different. Something a little retro; old school. Something so old it’s new again.

In the Old Days

In the Old Days, some of us remember actually using film to take pictures. Remember film? It was a strip of celluloid in little canisters that you actually had to take to the drug store to be developed. Every time you pressed the shutter release button it cost you about a dollar. A dollar might not be much, but a roll of 36 exposure film added up. If you took several rolls during your vacation that added up in a hurry!

I remember waiting weeks to have enough money to have some film developed. And then there was the great disappointment upon receiving the prints back when only one or two pictures on the whole roll were worth the expense. It was like flushing my money down the toilet. I quickly learned to take each picture like it mattered –because back then it did!

Today’s Digital World

The wonderful thing about shooting digital is that it virtually costs nothing. You can shoot hundreds of pictures of the same subject and decide which one you like instantly, or later in the comfort of your own home. When I first started shooting digital it was a wonderfully freeing experience, seeing the results immediately and not spending my hard earned money on the cost of developing. I would fire off a hundred shots of a scene and then spend an hour in front of my computer deciding which one I liked best.

Our world today is shrinking, moving so fast we have the need to distill our thoughts and emotions down to bit-sized communications. We tell the world what’s going on in 140 character Tweets. Our phones take pictures of our every move and we post them instantly on Facebook or Instagram for people to comment on, like, or disagree with and criticize. We distill our emotions down to clever little acronyms or emoticons to share with our friends and strangers alike.

Let’s Shoot it Like it Matters

Let’s bring a little coherent vision back to our pictures. Let’s take the time to actually see what we are photographing before we hit the post button. Try shooting it like it matters. Try shooting each picture like it costs you a dollar every time you hit the shutter release. Use some of the basic principles of composition and creativity to our pictures. The pictures we post online will be spread across the eithers for all eternity for everyone in the entire world to see.

Yet we spew them like vomit from a drunk on a Saturday night.

We have never been so connected, yet so utterly isolated. Our stream of consciousness romance with our screens has turned us into instant gratification junkies. We have a constant need to look at a screen for our next fix. Try taking a little time to actually connect with yourself, and the world, to photograph something that really tells us what you’re thinking or feeling. Try making your picture tell us exactly why you took it, not merely where you were and who you were with. Our thoughts should go deeper than the next LOL, or smiley face, or selfie. Shoot something real and treat it like a Freshman Photography 101 homework assignment to hand in to the toughest teacher/critic you’ve ever had –yourself.

Now it’s your turn. Go. Take some pictures. Then come back and tell us about it!

~Ron G.


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