For me, photography is all about seeing.  The light, the color, the shadows…the moment.  I’ve been serious about photography for about eight years now, but my love for the art has been around much longer.  I got my first camera, a Kodak Disk, when I was in 6th grade.  I burned through disks of film taking pictures of anything that would stand still…and things like our dog and my brother that would see me coming and run the other direction.

I currently shoot Nikon using primarily a 1.8/50mm lens.  I’ve always had a love for prime lenses, but find that more and more I’m drawn to wide angles and zoom.  I believe a 2.8/24-70mm is in my near future.

photography

I’m a very simple shooter, always in manual, and don’t use a lot of props or equipment.  I shoot almost 100% natural light with the occasional use of a reflector in the kitchen when taking a food shot, but even that feels cumbersome at times.  What I really love is just taking the light I’ve been given and positioning myself and camera to make the most out of it.

For editing I use Photoshop, but very minimally.  It’s my goal to get the shot as best I can in camera.  I simply don’t have the time to sit editing for hours and to be honest, it’s not my favorite thing to do.  Why sit at the computer when you could be out practicing and enjoying the light, right?

photography

My advice on how to get better at making pictures is the same advice almost any photographer will give you…practice, practice.  I heard an artist say, a few years ago, that he felt he didn’t truly grow in his art and ability until he made it a point to draw everyday.  Hearing that struck a chord with me.  Why wouldn’t I make pictures everyday?  It’s what I love.  It’s no different than an athlete perfecting his performance or a musician that plays a song until he’s got it right.  So that’s what I do.  I make pictures…everyday.  I may not keep all of them, but that’s not the point.  It won’t feel like you are learning or improving right away, but I guarantee that as you look back over time, you’ll see it.

Aside from practice, my only other advice would be to learn about light.  Read about front light, back light, side light.  Find out the difference between diffused light and direct.  Study it even when you don’t have your camera.  Look at the sky, the way the shadows fall from the trees or buildings.  Pay attention to how the light hits different rooms in your house as the sun moves across the sky during the day.  Train your eye.  After awhile it will become second nature. It isn’t hard, it just takes time, a few mistakes and practice.

photography

One of my favorite photography quotes is from Richard Avedon, a fashion photographer.

If a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it’s as though I’ve neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up.”

Feel free to email me any photography questions you might have, I’ll do my best to answer them…

alison@alisonbickel.com

 

8 Responses to Photography

  1. bentley says:

    i LOVE this page. So well written. I always love to hear how others shoot.

  2. I really love this post! It’s so interesting to get a peek into how other(especially way more experienced) photographers do things. I’m still very much a beginner but I’m so looking forward to all the practice I’m going to get over the years :)

  3. RaeChelle says:

    Thank you!!! :)

  4. Talia says:

    Hi alison! You’re blog is absolutely beautiful. I am an aspiring foodie and hope to have a blog sometime in the near future. You said you have a Nikon but what is the exact kind of camera you have? Or is there any camera you’d recommend. Thanks :)

  5. Alison says:

    Talia–I currently shoot with a Nikon D300s. I’ve shot with both Canon and Nikon and they are both great. Nikon just fit my hand (and brain) a little better. I’m not sure I could recommend a certain camera, I think the best thing you can do is go somewhere you can actually hold them and get a feel for how they fit your and and eye. If you like the layout of the controls etc. Thanks for visiting…hope you’ll come back often!

  6. Kara says:

    Thanks for this post. I shoot pretty much 100% natural light because I want to keep it simple, but this post seemed to free me up some when using Photoshop. There are times I look at my pics in PS and don’t feel like there are edits that need to be made, but I feel a sort of pressure to change SOMETHING. Strange? Maybe, but your attitude of trying to get it right through the lens makes me feel good! Yeah for freedom! And thanks!!! :)

  7. Hi Alison, this is such a great post. Very simple, natural and beautiful; like your photos. Love your new site. I’m still new to photography but this post really resonates & inspires me. Thanks for sharing. Jessica

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