Friday, March 2, 2012

Phoneography, Part 3: Making Photographs

Part 1
Part 2
Waste Circles - Bakersfield, California
This phoneography series is an open journal relating my experiences using a Samsung Galaxy S as a camera. This camera phone arrived in the mail less than three weeks ago and it has already proven to be a valuable tool for creating photographs.
Remodel - Tehachapi, California
Owning a camera phone means always having a camera with me. With photography, half of the battle is being in the right place at the right time. I cannot tell you how many times I've been in the right place at the right time, but did not have a camera with me. This solves that problem.
Mojave Desert Sunrise - Rosamond, California
As I explained in Part 2, how many megapixels your camera phone has is irrelevant. Even less than one megapixel can be used. A camera with at least five megapixels is ideal, but is far from necessary.
Padded Room - Palmdale, California
What is much more important than megapixels is actually making good images. Notice I said making and not taking. Great photographs are not captured but are created. The photographer has exercised much thought and judgement before opening the shutter. This is true no matter what camera you are using.
Cherry Bloom - Palmdale, California
Even with a good-but-not-great photograph, the photographer spent time and energy figuring out how to make the image the best that he could. No haphazard picture will ever be more than mediocre.
Do Not - Palmdale, California
That does not mean that all your phoneographs should be great--or, if not great than at least good. There is certainly plenty of room to learn and grow and experiment. Henri Cartier-Bresson said, "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst." The best thing you can do to improve your photos is to make a lot of photographs. Even once you reach image number 10,000, there is still a lesson to be learned from each image.
Night Train Crossing - Tehachapi, California
The next thing to understand is that you have a lot of control over your photographs. You are at a certain spot at a certain time, with a particular camera (and perhaps lens), at a certain height, and with particular camera settings. If you moved left or right, up or down, forward or backward--you could dramatically alter the image. Changing the exposure, contrast, white balance, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, or color saturation would change the final look of the photograph. And how you post-process the image could significantly alter the photograph, as well.
Snow Tire - Tehachapi, California
It is helpful to consider all of those things prior to opening the shutter. A much stronger image may only be a slight adjustment away.
Red Berries - Palmdale, California
Exclusion and simplification can often be employed to improve an image. Less is often more when it comes to photography. Try to exclude everything that is not essential to the scene and keep the composition simple. Including the non-essential will confuse the viewer because the point of the image will be unclear. People typically prefer clean and simple over messy and busy.
Cherry Blossom Bee - Bakersfield, California
It is important to understand that photographs are a type of non-verbal communication. Whether you know it or not, you are telling those looking at your images something. What are you telling them? You cannot control how exactly that message will be interpreted by the viewer, but you can make your statements as clear as possible. A photograph that sends a clear-cut message to the viewer will often be better received than one where the communication is garbled.
Cherry Flowers - Bakersfield, California
In order for the photograph to have a clear message, you have to consider what the image will look like prior to opening the shutter. If you can picture in your mind the final product, you'll have a pretty good idea if the photograph will be any good or not. If you think it could be better, try repositioning yourself--approach the scene from a different perspective.
Three Pines - Bakersfield, California
What thoughts and feelings are you trying to convey? Most likely, it is what you are thinking and feeling at the scene you are photographing. Consider how you can transfer those thoughts and emotions into the image. How bright or dark should the image be? How much contrast? What should and should not be in focus? Should it be color or black and white? These are questions that should be answered prior to opening the shutter and after figuring out what thoughts and feelings you want in the image.
Tejon Ranch From Highway 58 - Bealville, California
Let me recommend a book to you: The Art Of Photography by Bruce Barnbaum. While it discusses photography in general, almost all of what is said can be applied to phoneography. It is the best money you will spend to improve your images.
Little Girl And Block Wall - Bakersfield, California
Another book worth getting is The Best Camera Is The One That's With You by Chase Jarvis. This book is about phoneography and nothing else. It includes some stunning images that you'd never guess were created with a camera phone.
Three Yellow Flowers - Bakersfield, California
While I'm posting links, here's a webpage that has 40 camera phone photographs. Not all of them are great, but most of them are. And here's a site that has a number of good phoneographs.
Yellow Flower - Bakersfield, California
Some interesting cell phone options (for those in the market for a new one) are the Nokia Lumia 900 and the HTC Titan II. The Lumia 900 has 8 megapixels and (more importantly) a Carl Zeiss lens! The Titan II has a 16 megapixel camera.
Pale Pink Flower - Bakersfield, California
One last thing that I want to say before ending is simply this: have fun. Enjoy what you are doing and don't pay too much attention to other's negativity. Don't worry about what phone you have and what phone you'd like to have. As long your phone has a camera that is all that really matters.
Metal Colors - Bakersfield, California

Well, that's it for this post. Check back soon for Part 4.
Doctor Office Jars - Tehachapi, California

No comments:

Post a Comment