Growing as a photographer

This is exactly what a photographer needs, even before learning all the technical side of it.

You need to “train your mind” to “see”. The shooting, the editing and so on is something needed to materialize it, but them alone will give you nothing.

It’s like being a climber: you need to find and plan your way up, you have to wait for the best weather window and so on. All the technical requirements (clothing, gears, food, visa, etc) are needed, but it’s not what will make your climbs epic…


Hello Ian,

maybe a little “old school”, but you can also learn by reading books like “Mastering Photograpic Composition, Creativity, and personal Style” by Alain Briot, or “Light Science &Magic” by Hunter, Biver, Fuqua or other good books from rockynook or Focal Press

have fun


Completely true, but when there is a discussion that welcomes that kind of request, photographers are more likely to do so. Getting constructive feedback was a big part of the “Off Topic” thread, regardless of whether the replies were positive or negative. That is why the thread was deliberately named “Off Topic”.

I could’t agree more. As for me, that’s the part I struggled with the most. Making a technically perfect image isn’t enough for “art”, but reporting. what a person sees is very different than “art”. Photojournalism has very simple rules, including five words that define it - who, what, when, where, and why. DxO PhotoLab goes way beyond this, just as “art” goes far beyond “photojournalism”.

I think I understand what you mean, and when it comes to “art”, I completely agree - you need a vision, a goal, of what you want to show others, and what you might want them to think.

The title of this thread is “Growing up as a photographer”. What is left un-said is what kind of photographer does each of us want to be? Very talented people can combine “art” and “photojournalism” into an image that satisfied most viewers, but being too careful about either extreme may bother people who aren’t so open minded as to see both.

Which leads back to this program PhotoLab, which can be adapted to create a very good image both for “art” and for “realism”, but it still comes down to the goals of the photographer.

I would suggest a would-be photographer start by reading “The Camera Doesn’t Matter” by Ken Rockwell. Improving one’s photography buy buying better gear, doesn’t work. The sources you mentioned are FAR more important, but it takes time, and effort, and practice, and working at it for a very long time. Well, IHMO.

I would bet that most people are interested in “Growing as a photographer” will start by spending more $$$ for better gear. …which leads back to: Your Camera Doesn't Matter

Having an Off Topic thread, where everyone is welcome to say what they want, can be one way of growing up as a photographer, by getting feedback from others.

…assuming this is acceptable to DxO, as they’re the ones providing this space. I think the people at DxO were very pleased to see those discussions. Someone else on this forum can create the thread if they agree.

I enabled that in the beginning, thinking it meant the profile is visible to logged in users (because I could see the information in the pop-up when I was logged in.) So it’s either show everyone (including bots and search engines) or don’t show anyone at all?
Thanks @Wolfgang for pointing it out.

@mikemyers, when I first starting lurking - even before signing up, in my head it was the @mikemyers vs. @Joanna thread. This is simply the impression I got when I started reading it.

Back @OnTopic:
I think an important part is also physical fitness. Aside from less need for a tripod, being flexible helps with taking shots from more interesting angles.

This one I disagree with from personal experience. Not every camera gives you the same range in field of view, the same minimal focus distance, level of detail… (did I mention the magic of high ISO in modern digital cameras?). So imho it depends on the kind of photos you prefer shooting. And the $$$ or €€€ or whatever generally do matter depending how you (big) want to display your photos.

This is what I see now:

Dunno if you changed something. Maybe @Fabrice-B can give us a hint?

Thanks, will give it a try!!:+1:

1 Like

Another text (short): FART First for Fantastic Fotos by Ken Rockwell

Just one quick question - when you were reading that thread, did you find it enjoyable?

@Joanna is such a talented and informed person, and usually quite brilliant (as well as being a great teacher), I was “hooked”. One of the highlights of my day, was reading the latest posts. Pretty cool, considering we’re on opposite sides of the big ocean. :slight_smile:

I agree with you, but at 79 I no longer have any desire to get down on the ground even when I know it will improve my photograph. My body just doesn’t do those things very well any more. I try to exercise, and go to my “physical therapy” appointments, but that’s not enough. So, I’m stuck with more limitations than long ago, and it’s a downhill street.

I know it’s not an “answer”, but my way of dealing with this is “do the best you can with what you’ve got”. There is no magic camera that does everything, and I’m tired of trying to “buy” better photographs. If I had it to do over again, I’d have bought the ultra-wide-angle to ultra-telephoto Nikon lens that @Joanny prefers. If I had it to do over again, there’s a lot of photo gear I wish I had never bought. …you are reminding me that I spent big $$$ for things that I could have lived without.

THANK YOU! I don’t know how I missed that post - Something very easy to remember. I guess he posted it in 2015.

Knowing me, I would likely take a quick shot just to have something, then go through the process to get the best possible shot for what first attracted me to the scene. My “problem” is sometimes I see something I want to capture, but I’m not sure about the questions that could be answered. I’ll try this out, and see how it works for me.

Thanks for the link!

Imho watching, reading, following respected vlog/blog’s are for inspiration purposes.
Not to copy there view and work.

The how and new views on things so to speak.

Enjoy fooling around and playing with your gear on a nice sunday wile walking around
Or go online and search for “photographic hotspots” and add your own version of that place :wink:

I agree with do the best with what you can. On the other hand I wouldn’t event attempt macros (my fetish) if all I had was a 50mm prime on the body. And yes, for the most part I found the thread enjoyable, entertaining and I leared a thing or two.

I keep forgetting to mention books, because most people I deal with seem to think youtube is the only place to learn things from. Currently (the only book I’m reading) Adavncing Your Photgraphy by Marc Silber.

There are two situations I usually fall into. One is when I go somewhere to take one or more specific photos, in which case I try to bring the appropriate camera gear.

The other is when I stumble across something I hadn’t planned on, and I might very well have only that 50mm prime lens, especially if I have my Leica M. In that case, I do the best I can, trying to work around the limitations. When I was growing up, for ages, all I had, and used, was a collapsible 50mm Zeiss Sonar lens. Things were simple back then.

PhotoLab might not turn a “glorified snapshot” into a wonderful image, especially if the intention was to create something “artistic”, but for the type of photography I most enjoy, my 50 is more than adequate (with my Leica).

Thanks to other discussions here, there’s a good chance I’ll have my Nikon D780, which means it will likely have a zoom on it. If I was smarter, which I’m not, it would be an ultra-wide to ultra-telephoto lens as @Joanna so strongly suggested.

Most (many) of my photos are un-planned, and I try to make-do with what I’ve got. While I prefer PhotoLab, all I really need is a basic editor. I probably have a dozen editors by now, but that gets way too confusing.

Books - I used to read lots of them, but then I found myself copying what others did, a habit I don’t want to get into. There are times my imagination is in high-gear, and things just “work”, but there are lots of times when I don’t see the point of even taking a photo. For me, the instant cure for that is travel, especially to places like India and Nepal, which are nothing like what I experience at home.

I know you guys (and gals) are right, as knowing how to get the most out of my camera proves very helpful in capturing an unusual photo opportunity. Books for some people are probably a great idea, but for me, the “technical” books are the most helpful.

Growing as a photographer…??? The more “tools” you learn to use, the better. Wanting to do something isn’t enough - you need to have and understand the tools to accomplish it.

Wanting and understanding the tools are certainly a good start, but are based on will rather than on the more fluffy side of things like inspiration and imagination.

Balancing the will and fluffy parts might be key. Too much gear gets in the way, not enough gear too, but photography, as a means of reproduction leaves a lot of room, with or without inspiration.

While trying to copy other’s ideas is a good way to learn, it needs time and repetition to have it evolve from floating on will to sinking in, to get out of the way…and a maximum of gear is more difficult to drown than diving with a bare minimum.

1 Like

There’s a corollary to this, too. If you don’t want to learn how to do something, it will be much harder than it needs to be. This is something I mostly see when family/friends/colleagues want a result handed to them on a silver platter. When I offer to teach them how, they declare it is “too difficult”. It has taken me decades to realise that in most cases what this actually means is “I don’t want to learn how, I just want it done.” I’ve found it incredibly frustrating trying to deal with such people. I’m slowly learning to either do it for them out of their view (if it’s important to me they succeed) or just walk away.

In my opinion, no; I don’t see any difference.
Even with a Mac M1, I don’t want to increase processing time, so my choice: Prime from ISO 1000 to 2000, Deep prime beyond ISO 2000.

An extreme example of Clear View: DxO Photolab 3 Clearview
In most cases, I use Clear View sparingly because it makes the photos look artificial.
When there’s haze on the landscape, it’s impossible to remove and useless from an artistic point of view; some people use it to transform photos into a vision I don’t share; example [Sebastião Salgado
(ão-salgado/) who excessively increases contrast and darkness; his photos are works of art rather than photographs…
In any case, this is just a tip.
I frequently use Clear View with a mask on part of the image like on glaciers.

@be51 : Do you mean Prime vs.DeepPrime - or DeepPrime vs DeepPrime XD?

A few days ago, I ran a little test - exported 60 images to all default exports with HQ and DP noise reduction - and found that exporting with HQ de-noising took longer than with DeepPrime: 3.8s vs. 3.3s per image on average.

Tested with M1 MacBook Air 2020. YMMV.

Again, this has nothing to do with the OP :person_shrugging:

1 Like

? ? ? ? ? ?
(10 chars for answer)

Original Poster

1 Like

For your camera. My old Pentax K10D was quite noisy at 400, very noisy at 800 and tragic at 1600. My current Pentax KP is moderately noisy at 800.

Also for your output intentions. If you export a noisy 40 megapixel image to a 4 megapixel JPEG, then noise isn’t going to be much of an issue.

There are times when I’m guilty of that - depending on what is going on in my life at the moment, I may not want to spend the required time to learn something, so I can do it correctly. Maybe I am overwhelmed by other things that are more important to me at that moment.

It’s like the discussions I had with @Joanna, when I was willing to allow the camera to configure settings when it didn’t really matter to me, and Joanna (correctly) told me that I need to get better at thinking these things through on my own.

Long ago, I often put my camera in “P” mode, and allowed it to take care of the exposure. The better way of course is “M” mode, where I need to take the time to figure things out. I never used “Auto” mode, but I was fine with “S” and “A” priority. For a long time I was satisfied with simply using “Auto ISO”, allowing the camera to correct things by using a suitable ISO.

As I see things now, it really comes down to a combination of how important is this image to me, and how much time I can take to capture it.

There is often another option, “flash”. My Fuji is often set to use the built-in flash whenever the camera feels it is appropriate. For my Leica and Nikon, I don’t have an appropriate flash - something I sometimes miss from my D750.

Anyway, back to your comment, the best answer I have found is to learn all these things at my leisure, when I have all the time I need, and hope I remember them properly when I need to. …and as many people here have pointed out, this is much easier for me if I’m only working with a single camera. More cameras = more confusion = more to remember = potential unnecessary problems.

Need to add one more thing - it’s easy to get “burnt out” with all this, when it starts to feel like drudgery rather than enjoyment.

I leave DeepPRIME on for any image I process. I’ve never heard of it degrading an image, and even if I don’t see any obvious changes, I let the software check the image anyway. Time doesn’t seem to be an issue, unless I’m in a hurry, which is a poor time for me to do any editing.

There is something to be said for knowingly choosing to let the camera do the work. Putting the camera in P because you don’t know how to use it any other way is different than putting the camera in A in the full knowledge of what control you are giving up.

For most of my photography, I use aperture priority because that’s the factor I feel most comfortable being in control of. Not to mention certain lenses perform much better at certain apertures. But I accept the shutter speed is going to be highly variable and I do take note of what the camera selects before actually taking a shot… at least when there is time.

For me, using M means having to do a lot of thinking when my subjects will not wait for me, and even if they did, there’s more chance I’d get something close to black or white across the frame.