Happiness Is A Day With My Camera                                           

 

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linda Walch

Today as I drove to town some expert on the radio said that there are 12 states of happiness.

I can’t remember what they were or how “happiness” is determined, but after a bit of searching I found a short article that said to be happy we must “anticipate with pleasure, savor the moment, express happiness, and reflect on happy memories”.

I know there are times and things that make me happy. However, there are also moments that no matter what my surroundings are or the circumstances I am in, I am just not happy.

My wife makes me happy, and even when I know she is mad at me for something I have said or done, I am still happy when she’s with me. Maybe that’s one of those states.

I doubt there has ever been any studies done on the states of happiness for photographers. So while those reading this think about what makes them happy I’m going to delve into that mysterious state.

Happiness might be about things like camera equipment, or about creating a good photograph.

Most photographers are devastated when they receive a poor review on a picture, so there is lots of ego involved in their happiness.

I know sitting around with other photographers talking about anything photographic is just plain blissful.

I don’t have any science that I can call up and haven’t discussed happiness with any philosophers, but I have always felt that photographers have a culture of their own. There are those who might argue that concept, but I am absolutely convinced that it is so.

I constantly interact with other photographers in online forums, or talk to them personally, and those photographers are always ready and willing to tell me when they are happy or not with their photography.

Some seem to be more interested in the technology of photography then the process of making pictures and there are others that care little about the equipment as long as they can make a picture.

I once knew a photographer that was happiest when he found a problem with a piece of photography equipment. He delighted in making test after test and would sometimes spread twenty or more prints on my counter explaining how a particular camera or lens didn’t match what the manufacturer or other photographers claimed. Personally, I’m disappointed when something doesn’t work as described, but he would actually be cheery.

I remember a fellow that used to spend all his spare time hunting (with his camera). He’ll show up at my shop with a grin as wide as all outdoors and happily describe how he crawled thru the sagebrush, waded some creek, or slowly froze as he hung off some cliff. What made him happy was the process of making pictures.

I know photographers that are continually changing equipment. Not because of problems with what they own, but because they read something, or talked to someone, about a new addition from their manufacturer of choice, and can’t live without it.

Sometimes their choices don’t so much meet a practical need as an emotional one, but they make it easy for me, and anyone else they talk to, to observe how very happy they are with their new acquisitions.

This medium has so many genres and outlets to make one happy.  There are portrait photographers, wildlife photographers, scenic and landscape photographers, street and sports photographers, those that specialize in plant photography and, of course, many more, each with differing sets of skills, and, to my mind, their own states of happiness.

I don’t know if photographers have twelve states of happiness, or only the four I found in that short article, but I will say that I meet lots of people that are happy to be doing photography, and being involved with it in their own way.

Maybe its just as simple as the words I once saw written on a wall, “Happiness is a day with my camera.”

 

 

 

Photographing People   

Michael

Dave Monsees

By John 001

Monica

Bailea

Kevin

 

This week a friend asked me what my favourite photography subject is. After our talk I decided to post this rewrite of an article I wrote some time ago.

I enjoy photographing just about anything. Nevertheless, I’d have to answer that I probably take pleasure in photographing people the most.

I’ve been employed doing many types of photography since I began earning my living as a photographer in the 1970’s. I have done different kinds of photographic work for all types of organizations; however, I have found myself photographing people most of the time.

That’s not that unique; I think most photography is really about people. We take pictures of our family, friends, and people at celebrations and other events.

When I taught photography in the 1980s I would ask the question about a favourite subject of my students and “people” was a rare response. However, since the introduction of digital cameras and the relaxed point and shoot style many employ today, I’ll bet people photography ranks near the top as a reply.

If indeed, as I confessed to my friend, my favourite subject is people, I suppose I might put together a few tips for him and my readers on my favourite subject.

I quickly jotted down 10 suggestions to help readers be successful when photographing people.

  1. When you take pictures of people look at them and pay attention to their appearance so you ensure they look their best for the photograph. Don’t just rapidly snap away and realize later that you should have had your subject adjust something, e.g., a necklace, glasses, or especially that tie.
  2. Choose interesting and flattering angles or points of view. Also try three-quarter poses of single subjects. By that I mean that the person turns their body so that they view the camera from over their shoulder.
  3. Focus on the subject’s eyes. When we talk to people we make eye contact. There is a greater chance of your subject liking the photo if their eyes are sharp and not closed or looking away. Ensure that subjects smile or at least have a pleasant look. In my experience when subjects say they want a serious photo without a smile they appear sour or unhappy in the final photo. Do one of each as a compromise.
  4. I don’t like lenses shorter than 85mm. My favourite is 105mm. (Although recently I have been choosing my 70-200mm.) Longer focal length lenses always create a flattering perspective.
  5. For photographing one or two people an aperture of f/4 or wider will soften the background and make your subject stand out, but for group photos use an aperture of at least f/8 or smaller to increase the depth of field.
  6. Pay attention to your subject’s background especially when doing outdoor portraitures. You don’t want the photo to appear to have something growing out of a person’s head (e.g. like a stop sign), or have objects in your photograph that are distracting.
  7. Watch out for uncomplimentary shadows created by the sun, your flash, or other light sources.
  8. Get things ready first. Contemplate the poses before you photograph your subject. The best way to bore people and loose the moment is to make them wait.
  9. Tighten up the shot. Again, get rid of unwanted elements in the photograph that do nothing for it. If there is more than one person make them get close together.
  1. Talk to your subjects. The most successful portrait photographers are those who talk to and interact with their subjects. We are dealing with people and we communicate by talking. Don’t hide behind the camera.

And as always be positive about the photograph you are about to make. Get excited. Your excitement will be contagious and affect those around you.