Working on composition

One of my biggest issues so far has been composition. 

I have read so much material on this subject that my brain hurts, but I can’t seem to nail down what I want to see vs. what I take a picture of. It’s been a frustrating venture so far. Then again, I’m a perfectionist of sorts. Which means my standards are very high, but realistically my skillset right now is quite low. I simply haven’t had the practice that I need in order to compose a shot the way I want. You would think I would remember this aspect, but it’s not that simple. For me (bringing in the new photographer aspect), it’s the pressure of the shot needing to be taken right now combined with the lack of quick recognition that causes that later review to go “Oh.” with a slump of the shoulders. 

So what to do then? Just “take shots”?

Actually, yes. As simplistic as it sounds: the more you shoot, the better you’ll feel. Case in point: three months ago I had no idea what to do with aperture. A basic and fundamental part of shooting, and I simply shot wide open at whatever aperture was the lowest. My thinking was such that the more light I let in, the better the shot, right? I came to find out that this is true, but only in the sense that the image won’t be dark. But what is a bright image to a poorly composed shot? The first image below is a shot I took with my first macro lens, 35mm. I had the aperture open at f4.5, letting in the most amount of light but defocusing most of the image as well. Not much of a macro shot, honestly. It shows the detail, and that bug was really tiny. But in the end, the shot was…meh. I wanted the detail, but forgot composition. I needed to compose the shot in such a way that the entire image was in focus. Enter the second image. You might have noticed it’s also the cover image for the site. I like it alot! Shot at the same aperture, but the composition is much better. This shot also took much much longer to shoot. By much longer of course I mean a few seconds, but when you are new like I am, a few seconds can seem like an eternity, but it can also spell the difference between a brown mass and a bright droplet perched on a blade of grass. 

Basically: go shoot things. You aren’t here to make money (yet). So 99% of these images won’t be seen by the public eye. So shoot! Take all the pictures, and then get choosey later. But when you shoot, focus on an aspect. For example, this past weekend I shot in f8 and nothing else. It’s not a lofty goal, I grant you, but the intention was to know what f8 could do and not do. I’ve read a few times a photographer state: “F8 and be there.” Meaning set your aperture to f8 and be around for the shot you want. I wanted to see if this was true, and I felt like it was for most of the time. The last image, of my daughter, is an example of that. I like how the back is blurred to where the focus of the image is entirely in her face. It’s a natural pose, she was obviously singing or talking at the time. I took it at the maximum focal length of 210mm for my lens. If I had a criticism, I wish I had put a bit more light into the shot. This was at iso 3200, which I think I’ll have to control next time so I know how dark my image might be if I’m at the preferred iso 100. 

Till next time!

Social Media

One of the biggest issues with starting out photography is that simple idea: who sees this? Do we create albums and simply post them to our personal Facebook or Instagram accounts? Do we use sites like 500px and Flickr only? Who uses these sites, and are they broad enough to garner the attention we want? All these questions I’m asking myself, and honestly it’s overwhelming at first. I’ve (of course) Googled this ad nauseam, and while most people have different methods of “getting yourself out there”, there’s one thing that’s practically universal. 

If you want to succeed, move up in your craft or simply get the recognition you might be doing this for…you have to take the risks of putting yourself out there. 

Simply stated: share it. Just put it out there, fire and forget…whatever you have to do in order to get people to notice your work. And that is what it is, right? It’s work. You are putting effort into this, you’re framing shots and putting work into editing those photos later. Singly managing your social media presence is just as much work as actually taking the photo…and so on. It’s hard though. It’s hard to think that just as much as people could love your work, they could just as easily ignore it and not care. Or worse, they could…not like it! Gasp! Oh no!

That’s not why you’re doing this though, is it? You’re not doing it to be liked. You’re doing this because you love to take pictures, you have a unique perspective on the world and you want to show that to people. The fun part is, what you do now isn’t what you will do in years to come. You’ll improve and get better, you’ll buy different equipment to fit niches that you want to fill. I’ve taken the perspective that (because I’m still very new at this) if 1/7,000,000,000 doesn’t like your photos, so what? Even if your entire Facebook friend list goes “Ew.” and blocks you, that’s still a fraction of a fraction of the world that’s waiting to see your work. 

Get yourself out there. I just did it. Honestly, the results are pending…but again, that’s not why I shoot. I shoot because I love the sound of the shutter, because I love the results (usually) of the picture…I love going back and reviewing my work in Lightroom and tweaking where necessary. I love the whole process, and in the end I love taking pictures. These stills of time that represent a view, or infatuation, or a world of art. 

I’ll make another post in the coming weeks about what I’ve used for social media, and how I created a workflow that makes sense so I’m not posting to like…four different places and trying to keep each album updated.

First things first


My name is Justin. I’ve just began photography as a hobby. I’ve lived in Lexington, Kentucky for over 10 years and love trying different perspectives. Hiking, travel, urban exploration…all of it!

My very first camera was a Canon Powershot G7X. A wonderful little point and shoot, it got the job done for most things. But eventually I wanted more. This was stemmed from my grandmother’s Sony a100 she gave me after.  Interchangeable lens?! Whaaat?

The Sony was my first touch with interchangeable lenses and DSLR’s and it was addicting. That beauty had a maximum ISO of 2500, 10 mp. Back in the day it was a beast, and definitely was a pioneer in Sony’s desire to get into the camera market. In true loyalty fashion, the first camera that I bought that could be considered “professional” was the a6000. Significant difference, obviously. I have recently upgraded again to the a6500 for different reasons, one of them being the silent shooting mode and the slow motion movie modes. I like to have options. :D

These days I’m working on my favorite type of shooting: macro photography. The details that can be caught with cameras is unreal, and I can’t wait to get working on more images. I also started a project in the city called “Wooded Houses”. Check it out! The premise is that I wanted to capture beautiful houses (of which Lexington has plenty) behind their trees and shrubs in a way that made it difficult to tell if it was a city or woods. In Lexington, it’s particularly easy to find trees…they’re quite popular here. 

Anyway, I like to think that just the development from the Canon to the a6500 is significant, and it gives me a lot of encouragement that my perspective may be that much better a year from now. 

Thanks for visiting!

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