Thursday, March 10, 2011
When Equipment Will Not Suffice
It does not matter what type of equipment you have, there will be a time when it is not enough. Whether you are using a point a-shoot, or a full DSLR with a tripod, it happens to everyone. (The only time you are able to avoid this is in professional studio work. Many of us do not do that, so it's no help to us.) There are a few things you can do once you get to your photographic wits end. And they all require some type of sacrifice. Having problems with zoom? If you just can't get close enough to the subject, write down the photo number, and later on, crop it in to the distance you want. You will lose quality, but sometimes it is worth it.
If it's an exposure problem there are a few things you can do. Too little light, too fast movement? You're going to have to suffer through the pain of really grainy photos. If you make your ISO as high as it will go, you will have better luck capturing the image. Another thing to remember is that the more 'zoomed in' you are, the less light that is coming in, and the more blurry your pictures will be.
I chose these pictures as examples because they are from one of the biggest photo-problematic places I often go; South Coffee House. The lighting is low, the performers are often far away (for a 18-55mm lens), and the stage lights are unnecessarily blinding. Photographing the acts requires some very specific exposure settings, and some cropping later on. As for photographing the audience, it costs some very painful ISO levels and a unavoidable 'cell-phone camera' level of quality. But a well composed-grainy photo is worth 10 badly composed 50 ISO photos.
If there's anything to say in conclusion, it's that the equipment is ALWAYS less important than the composition. Composition is paramount to everything else in photography. Always.
Archipelago Photography: insulae cogitum lumenque, maritus cum nomen.