Thursday, January 19, 2012

Focus On What's Important

    Focus is one of the most critical factors in photography. Focus shifts the attention of the viewer to the part of the photo the photographer wants to emphasize and away from the background or less important elements of a scene. That's one of the reasons the Lytro camera made such a big splash in photography, because you could selectively change the focus after taking the shot.
    With focus being such a critical component of photography it is sometimes puzzling to see those new to the business focus on elements of photography that are less important when it comes to taking great pictures.
    Agonizing Over Megapixels
    Probably the most frequent and strangest of all is the fixation some people have with a camera's megapixel rating. In fairness camera manufacturers are partly to blame for continuing the megapixel charade and they've done such a good job convincing consumers it's an important comparison they can't really go back now.
    Take two perfectly good cameras like the Canon 7D and Nikon D7000. Very close in price and specifications. Many people will look at the 7D's 17.9 megapixels verses 16.1 for the D7000 and think the Canon is better. While there are many good reasons to pick on camera over the other, the difference in megapixels is meaningless. To notice a difference you have to effectively double sensor size which quadruples the megapixels.
    Lighting and Lenses
    Lighting and lenses are two of the most important elements in quality photography and yet they get very little attention from the average enthusiast because they're just not the sexy part of the business. Cameras get all the attention because technology is sexy. Go to a photography trade show and you'll see massive displays for the big camera makers, while way in the back will be the tiny little booths for lighting companies.
    Those interested in photography as a hobby would do well to spend at least as much time learning about good glass and good lighting as they do on selecting a camera. Not only will you get better equipment, but a good lens will serve you for decades.
    Cameras come and go, but good glass is for life. You can almost always spot the professional nature photographer because they will have a $12,000 lens, an $800 camera body and an $500 car.
    Lighting is much the same story. It's not unusual to see professional photographers with a lighting package that costs as much or more as some of the new cameras. Some professional wedding photographers have lighting kits that run over $2,500 and that's not even the high end of the scale!
    When thinking about launching into photography, take the time to study lighting and lenses at least as much as your camera selection and you will save yourself some very hard lessons.

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Focus On What's Important

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