The following information is a general guide to the tips and techniques by Darran Leal.
Remember this is his style and may not suit your goals or aspirations.
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1. Darran’s Photography – Past, Present and Future …
I enjoy a cross-section of interests with the three key areas being landscapes, nature and creative. However, I have also shot a very wide range of commercial subjects over the years which included models, buildings and alike. One factor is clear – the base principles of photography remains the same, no matter what the subject. Light, metering, technique and equipment. The order of importance only depends on the opportunity at the time.Shooting in the field – I am an opportunist photographer. Whilst I do target regions for their great photo opportunities, I rarely try to target a particular subject. Rather I go into the field with an open mind and aim to shoot anything that catches my eye. Patagonia as an example. Everything is stunning from the plants to the snow capped mountains. But my personal favorite is the Guanacos. If I can shoot the Guanacos with snow capped peaks in the background – all the better! But if these interesting creatures are not ‘playing the game’, I will swap to macro, or consider landscapes, with a view to return to them at a later date. What drives me to shoot something? I am a little variable on this point, but the key initially (in the past 10 years) is the beauty of the subject and then how can I shoot it to make it creative enough to sell. Yep money! In my early years I had this naive thought that I should shoot things for national park service use – you know, to save the world. I still have that philosophy, as I donate time and my images, but it does not feed the kids!
A good example of my older way of thinking was – shoot it as you found it – walk 20 km’s to get that rare photo -etc. While I did ‘OK’ over the early years with this philosophy, it was definitely a inhibitor for money-earning potential. Enter, ‘ the new me’ in the late 90′s. Yes I move the frogs now and add them to a flower where I found them (and put them back where I found them). How silly was I to think that all the great photographers, shot what and where they found subjects. In fact few images, apart from landscapes, are shot in a purist form and even that has changed with PhotoShop being used so heavily.
Today I have cut back on shooting insects and birds as an example. I still shoot them but far less than the hours spent in the 1980′s in particular. Why? They are not the best selling images. So what I shoot, I shoot for enjoyment with a view to possible financial returns. Personally, I am all for progress and have few negatives about any of this – EXCEPT – when the photographer will not promote the fact that he or she has changed the image. Did I put that frog on the flower – you bet I did. Have I done something in Photoshop to that image – you bet I did. I am happy to tell the full details and in return I hope I can win the respect of the viewer for the amount of time, expertise, cost etc that went into that result. The future of photography is bright. Finally, it is being looked at as a true art form thanks to modern visionaries like Ken Duncan. Who thought that photographs would be selling for tens of thousands of dollars! Who thought that prints and canvases would last for over 100 years? Since 1994, we have gone from a 1.4MP camera at over $20,000 to ……. Imagine 10 years from now. For me, we will be using video cameras that offer outstanding still images and amazing zoom capabilities. They are here now!
2. Basic Tips
K.I.S – keep it simple – will help you to better result. The key basics to photography is understanding:
Your first year is the toughest. Into your second year, you will start to understand the photo process better but it is a never-ending learning curve – this is the intrigue of this art. Workshops will help you solve problems fast. Passion will get you out shooting more often. Keep trying different things but do not jump too far ahead – especially with
programmes! Every time I see someone do this, it simply ends up in frustration …
3. Beyond the Basics
Now you feel a little more confident in your equipment and you understand lighting, metering and technical needs – well, lets say you understand them better than a year or two ago. You should now be able to ‘have a go’ at most photo opportunities. Winning most, but bombing out on some. That’s fine, as it is from your mistakes that you will
progress and become a better photographer.
Set yourself projects and aim to put together – Audio Visuals – books and don’t buy anymore cards for Xmas etc. Make your own! This is where you can show off your great images and be creative, learning as you go.
This is ‘just a tool’ and in today’s world, an important tool. I started with Photoshop 2.5 in 1994. However, some photographers who have only been using Photoshop for a few years know more tricks than I do. Why? Because I have no interest (or time) to sit in front of a computer for hours on end. Do the tricks make a big difference? Well for some egos, yes. However, they do not necessarily offer better results. Be careful here, as you need to ask yourself, are you a photographer or do you like square eyes. Personally, I like a balance that includes everything including some family, fishing and movie time …
Lightroom – has changed the digital world. This outstanding programme is a key to my image processing. It allows me to go back to being a photographer, rather than a digital guru. Remember K.I.S …
Interested in more?
DARRAN’s SPECIAL PHOTO KIT
Then you should buy Darran’s fantastic educational kit which suits all levels and all interests.
1. eBook – with over 150 pages of Tip & Techniques from people to landscapes, wildlife and much more. Great basic Photoshop features as well!
2. Exclusive tutorials from Russell Brown – of Adobe USA. Russell is known as Mr. Photoshop and offers you a wealth of advanced Photoshop tips & techniques.
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