Calgary Photographer Cody James shares some rules and techniques on how he’s become a successful landscape, fine art, portrait, and commercial photographer. A daily 25 part series featuring some of his work from around the world.
Often I am asked questions like ‘is it the gear?’ or ‘is it the post processing’, ‘do you always use a tripod’, ‘what lens do you shoot with’, and even ‘what were your exact settings’ for a particular photo. All great questions, and ones I love to answer. But there’s more to being successful photography then just the common rules of bring a tripod at night, clear your memory cards, and answer the questions above.
My first rule, and one that I admit can be frustrating to properly emphasize to new shooters is that you’re going to learn more getting out and playing with your camera. Sure the manual is great, give it a quick read over and if you understand it then by all means it’s going to make your life a little easier, but when I first started shooting I wasn’t interested in sitting down with a book and going over the particulars, I wanted to get out, start shooting, and creating some work! I can’t stress enough how much putting myself out there improved my skills as a photographer. It taught me how to use my camera, to ask/search for the right questions and answers, and made me grow significantly in both skill and knowledge of how to work your gear.
So if you’ve just picked up a new DSLR camera and you’ve got the convenience of being a photographer in Calgary, then head out to the beautiful wheat fields, or drive to the mountains, hit up fish creek park, and start shooting! Play with the dials, adjust settings, find out what works for you and make it your own! Everything from depth of field, to mastering light can be self taught with a little effort and enthusiasm.
If you’re really having troubles picking up a technique, or you’re stuck on an over exposed image and can’t figure out what’s wrong, then look around at local resources as well as Google. Companies like The Camera Store in Calgary have some very knowledgeable staff who are always willing to lend out a helping hand to consumers. I’m always open to helping out photographers in Calgary, if you’re looking for some advice, connect with me on Twitter and let me know what you’re looking to do!