Digital cameras have been the best thing and the worst thing about the art of photography. Taking a good picture used to be very expensive, time-consuming, and difficult. There was a steep learning curve and most people couldn’t do it. As a result, most of the pictures being taken were either by professionals or talented amateurs. They were very good pictures for the most part.
Enter the DSLR and all of that changes. Taking technically good images was as easy as point and shoot. While the image quality increased, the artistic value took a major hit. That is because more people could take pictures without the knowledge, money, or hard work required for good photography. As a result, most pictures taken are not worth keeping, let alone, framing.
This happens in every industry where technology enables more people to do a thing without the background knowledge of how it all works. Modern cars are much safer. But they don’t make people better drivers. Word processors can turn anyone into a publisher. But they don’t make people better writers. And modern cameras make taking pictures easier. But they don’t make people better photographers. Here is what it really takes to produce pictures worth saving, printing, enlarging, and framing:
Mastering the Exposure Triangle
Shutter speed is one of the elements of the exposure triangle. The other two are ISO and aperture. Exposure refers to the quantity and quality of light your picture gets. Since a photograph is literally a light image, the quantity and quality of light is the whole ballgame. These are the basic fact about the exposure triangle:
ISO refers to the light sensitivity of your sensor.
Aperture is the size of the opening that regulates how much light the sensor gets.
Shutter speed is how fast the shutter opens and closes determining how long that light hits the sensor.
If you only know these three things, you will know enough to make beautiful and artistic photographs in almost every situation. Just know that there is a big difference between knowing the basics and mastering the art. The basics will get you started. They will not make you Gertrude Kasebier.
Choosing the Right Hardware for the Job
When it comes to printing and framing photos for your home, size matters. So you need to determine if you want a lot of small, personal photos, or large-format, art pieces. Choosing the right hardware up front is crucial.
If you want to decorate on a budget, no special hardware is required. Almost any high-end smartphone can take excellent photos of the 8” X 10” format and below. You can even use consumer-grade photo printers and frame them yourself to save a little money.
However, larger photos need better hardware. A wall-sized art piece needs something shot with a big sensor and megapixels to spare. You don’t have to own the necessary hardware. There is a healthy market for renting high-end camera equipment. And if you are making art that will serve as a focal point in your home, it is well worth getting your hands on the best equipment you can.
Consider What Inspires You
Wall art serves different purposes for different people. Some people use art to impress, or to demonstrate status and class. This might make a lot of sense if you are placing art in a room where you hold frequent social gatherings.
But if you are using art to move you, then you need to think carefully about what inspires you. That is what you want on the walls in your living space. Art can inspire change in the individual the same way art inspired change at a community level.
With your camera, your imagination, and your passion, you can make the kind of art that is worth waking up to every morning, and worth contemplating before going to bed at night. You don’t have to buy into someone else’s vision. You can provide your own inspiration for your own art.
If you want to take pictures worth framing, start with the basic knowledge that undergirds all of photography. Choose the right hardware for the kind of photos you want to produce. And begin all such projects with the kind of inspiration that transforms pictures into art.