I bought my first DSLR five years ago, it was a Nikon D3000. Shooting in automatic mode was easy and intuitive, but the pictures weren’t that good.
Learning to shoot in manual mode
I had to take couple of classes, at the University of Texas, to learn how to shoot properly in manual mode. Even with the classes, it took me couple of months to get comfortable.
Learning to shoot using off camera flash
After getting comfortable in manual mode, the next step was learning how to use off camera flashes. For that, I turned to David Hobby’s strobist blog.
I spent several months devouring the knowledge in his blog. Although, informative, I still remember being intimidated by the sheer number of information presented. However, with a lot of practice (thanks to my wife for patiently posing), I started getting better at it.
Over a period of a year, it started to sink in, from understanding how to read a histogram, to lighting a scene effectively.
Little did I know that shooting in manual mode, and learning how to use off camera flashes, were relatively simple compared to learning the art of posing.
Learning the art of posing
Learning how to pose a person is undoubtedly, at least for me, the hardest skill to master as a portrait photographer. I have been learning posing from numerous online sites.
I have learned a lot from the course, including:
- the importance of connection
- the importance of communication
- the importance of hand, shoulder, chin placements
- the importance of slimming a subject via posing, etc.
To master an art, an individual must spend countless time and energy shooting pictures, finding mistakes, and then reapplying what was learned.
I am far from cry from mastering the art, but here are my tries:
My try on posing, which undoubtedly needs a lot more work
Strobist diagram: the classic two lights setup