Is a good picture luck, science, skill, education, talent, vision, or equipment?
It’s as simple as that. It’s all, or some of the above for every picture I have taken. It could be pure luck as you slide on your back on the dance floor, among the inebriated participants as they are getting into a huddle, and fire off three shots on manual with the flash firing twice, to find that you actually got a picture that looked like the on in your brain.
Or it’s education knowing that the camera was already set to where I needed it to make sure the picture was captured. Or it’s the higher end glass (lens) that allowed the wider aperture to facilitate the proper exposure. Or it’s the education that rang through my head to make sure I had 15 different things correct before, during and after the shutter was activated.
It is all the above. The science and technology of photography seems to be advancing at an enormous rate. The camera you buy today isn’t outdated in a year, but the 2.0 version is on the horizon with a few tweaks and bells and whistles. The camera is outdated in maybe 3 years. The cameras themselves are changing. Ten years ago, who thought of taking HD video with a DSLR? Now you can take it with the baseline model of most companies DSLR line. Mirrorless camera systems are advantageous now for certain aspects of photography. Wi-fi capabilities are incredible now, just imagine what we’ll be able to do in 5, or even 10 years. With these advances it is making it easier to take and share all of our pictures. The cameras can do all the work for the shooter…if you let it. I can’t name a single professional who has ever had their DSLR on the Automatic Setting. Most keep it on manual. It offers us complete control to capture the image we see in our mind. That leads to…
Education. We are ALWAYS learning. We must share ideas, techniques and knowledge. I would not be the photographer I am today without many who know more than I ever will. They shared knowledge. The education of a photographer is immense. There are schools, seminars, conferences, apprenticeships, trial and error (usually more errors than successes), Webinars, photographer groups, etc… Most are designed to make us all better at our craft. It is a craft. It’s an art. Everyone is a critic. 99% of the people who tell me they like a certain picture have no idea how it was captured, nor do most of them care. Some ask the questions, what was your ISO, did you use a filter, what was the exposure setting, handheld or tripod, did you crop? So when people know they like an image they usually don’t care much about how you did it just that they like it.
Talent. There are some amazing photographers with great talent to be in the right place and time and have the foresight and vision to make an incredible image.
My old golfing adage comes into play with this final paragraph.
“I’d rather be lucky than good.” Sometimes you hold the camera, press the shutter and boom…you have the shot of the day.
You ever see the guys on the football field holding their wide-angle mounted lens camera over the two coaches at midfield at the end of the Superbowl? They’re firing away at 10 frames a second, repeatedly, to get that ONE picture that nobody else got. They may be the lucky one who got both coaches eyes open, looking at each other with hands clasped. If so, they have the ONE. Luck. That’s the underlying trait as I see it. You need all of the reasons for a good picture, but luck seems to come into play a lot more than the rest.
I feel lucky that I was able to slide on my back, under all those feet, get the group to all look at me and get the shot. I feel lucky that nobody stepped on me, spilled on me broke anything and the image came out to the satisfaction of my client. I also feel lucky to have been able to be there to even take the shot. Very lucky.