Image of a keyboard and a photography magazine on top of a white desktop. Image credited to the 4toconvert.

Letter to my fellow Photographic Kinsmen

My fellow Photographic Kinsmen,

I am writing to share my thoughts about our mutual love and appreciation of photography.

We may be at the beginning of our individual journeys and learning a lot about the craft.

However, we must not despair at the end result. We must be encouraged by our efforts to date. To become competent photographers we must start somewhere.

I have discovered that all my efforts may not have turned out how I imagined. The results may have been disappointing but I have learnt so much from my flaws.

I have endeavoured to make my flaws my strength. I always keep a record of my earliest attempts at photography.

When I study them, I recognise what I shouldn’t do and promise myself to repeat those things I do well in my better images.

Image of a Fujifilm HS20EXR camera.
This is the camera I use to take most of my photographs. It is Fujifilm HS20EXR. It is a bridge camera with some DSLR capabilities but it is not a DSLR. I took this photograph using a Nokia Lumia.

I sometimes see myself as a Cato the Roman elder learning a new language in his old age. I sometimes wish I had taken up photography at an early age to indulge my love of photography.

However, it is better late than never to repeat a well worn but relevant cliché. I am certainly enjoying every aspect  of photography now and I just can’t shoot enough photos.

Image of a duck leaning its neck back and resting its head on its back.

I have taken to travelling with my camera everywhere I go. There are just so many beautiful things to photograph and not enough time.

In fact, I find that looking at the world through my lens, I have developed a better appreciation of its beauty. The lens magically magnifies things that our naked eye misses: I can’t believe what I have been missing out all these years.

Side view image of Fujifilm HS20EXR camera with the lens fully extended.

I must share this secret with you: don’t be driven to purchasing expensive equipment in the hope that it will make you a better photographer.

It won’t. You will waste your money and despair and lose your enthusiasm when the transformation doesn’t happen. Rather, take the time to learn the basics and everything there is to learn.

One photographer by the name of Aaron Huey once said:

“A visual understanding of great composition and how to use a camera and expensive lenses can be learned, but drive and a real hunger for making photos and telling stories… I don’t think that part can be learned. You either have that inside, or you don’t.”

I totally agree with him. Like he said drive and a real hunger for taking photos and telling stories is the key. I believe this is what drives you and me. And eventually, it is these qualities that will transcend the desire to purchase lens and expensive equipment.

The moment you begin to understand composition and your camera as well as you know the back of your hand, you will have arrived.

Before then, take the time to master the triangle, i.e., ISO, aperture and shutter speed. These are the basic building blocks of photography.

Image of The Triangle showcasing the three cornerstones of photography: ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Image is from B&H.
Image source: B&H

Every photograph you take is affected by all three elements as illustrated in the image above. Whenever something is wrong with your photo[s], one or more of those elements are incorrect.

Another great thing to learn is light. Light is the language of photography. It creates the mood. Every photograph is an expression of light or its absence in the exposure.

Frantz Fanon wrote, “mastery of language affords remarkable power”. I say mastery of light will make you a powerful photographer.

You will not learn all this in one day. It is a journey we have to travel before we master this language and its subtle nuances.

There are plenty of resources out there to learn these valuable lessons. Youtube is a great audiovisual medium to learn these valuable lessons.

There are plenty of our photography kinsmen on that platform reaching out to you and me. All we need to do is beckon their calls.

They have already done the hard work for us. We cannot let them down. Every evening before I go to bed, I watch at least three short tutorials about photography.

I recommend you check out PHLearn Photoshop and Photography Tutorials. They are a great start to learn about Photography and Photoshop. I have inserted a video which I think you will find pretty interesting and informative.

Apart from Youtube, there are numerous brothers and sisters who are blogging and are happy to share their experience and answer our questions.

Libraries have books that break down everything about digital photography. So we must make use of all these resources.

Before I forget, there are also numerous magazines on photography aimed at amateurs. These are all valuable resources and there is no excuse for us not to make the best use of them.

You can also join photography clubs in your local area and meet up with other photography enthusiasts who are happy to talk about their hobby.

You will learn a lot from them and the practical projects they undertake. They will challenge you to become a better photographer.

Close up image of a sculpted lion's face with mouth open and fangs exposed. It is made of iron. Image credited to the 4toconvert.

Learn everything that you can from them. And also learn from every photograph you come across in magazines, on-line or whatever.

Be inspired by every beautiful image you come across and aspire to make equally beautiful or even better images.

I am constantly inspired by the images I see my fellow photographers sharing on their blogs and social media.

In a sense, photography has given me a new lease of life. It has given me hope. It has forced me to go places I have never been, literally and metaphorically, and try things I never thought I would.

I am enjoying this phase of my life and I have photography to give thanks to this attitude. This is why I am here sharing what I am learning.

I will be here to help you along the way if you ever need someone to talk to, moral support or constructive criticism.

image of a Fujifilm HS20EXR camera with lens fully extended.

I was browsing through some photography book today but I can’t remember the name of the author. I came across a quote which I wish to leave with you. Ponder upon these words and I hope they inspire you in the same way they inspired me.

“Why all the practice? It’s simple really. I have to practise if I want to become a better photographer. It’s something we should have in common with musicians, writers and even athletes. How else do you develop your ideas and technique? So I do much of my work from home, which additionally deepens my awareness of the local landscape.”

I must say do not look back. Continue shooting, practising, experimenting and have fun. When you do something that you love, you are most likely to succeed at it and the sense of fulfilment is priceless.

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