Bart Baldwin discusses how to dissect a photograph to figure out the settings, lens length, etc.
to try to delve into what the photographer was thinking when they took the picture.
That can really help you “see” your photography with a different view.
We give some concrete suggestions to really improve your photography!
Studying Photographs Will Make You a Better Photographer – with Bart Baldwin
- Won 2004 (First ever) Canon National Parks Contest.
- Works as a portrait, commercial, and architectural photographer.
- Conducts photo workshops with Bill Lea (Episode 34) and David Hartfield.
- Shot behind the scenes for multiple Extreme Makeover – Home Edition TV series.
“If you want to get great at photography it requires you to look at and study great photographs.”
Learning to See
- Look at A LOT of photographs. Online images are fine, but printed images are better. There are different qualities in a print than there are on a screen. Many great photography magazines to choose from, Bart recommends Lenswork.
- This exercise is even better when done with a friend, you’ll see things differently and can talk about the images.
Things to Look for in a Photograph
1. Identify your emotion. *Teach yourself what you like.*
How does the image make you feel?
Do you like it or not? WHY?
WHAT do you like about it? (or not like)
What do you wish was different?
2. Look at the technical aspects.
Did they use a long exposure? -blurred areas.
Small aperture? – all in focus.
Large aperture? – shallow depth of field.
Translate it to Your Own Work
Make connections between the technical aspects and what you’re seeing.
Translate this into your own work. Learn to incorporate those things into your photography.
“The more familiar you become with great photographs, the more you will start being able to pick out the photograph in the scene.”
Your mind is able to narrow down the grand scene before you to an aspect that becomes interesting to look at or photograph.
Combine your knowledge of what you’ve seen in other images with what you see in the field.
- The key to post-processing is not being able to tell it was heavily processed.
- Bart primarily uses Lightroom and Nik filters.
- It’s easy to overdo it. Be specific and do things in small increments.
- Processing can help give a series a more distinctive look.
Improving your Photography
- There is SO much to learn! You don’t have to do it on your own.
- Get training on basic foundations, take classes, attend workshops and conventions.
- Go out and shoot! It takes self-discipline. Schedule time to do it – even if it’s just 20 minutes in your backyard.
- Learn your camera. Make it instinctual.
- Invest in teaching yourself. Be motivated. Practice.
“Just passively absorbing the knowledge of photography doesn’t work. It’s an ACTIVE process. Seek out the knowledge and pull it in.”
What you need to learn for a solid photography education. Watch our free video:
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