Intro by Skip Cohen
This is a very different kind of post for Luminary Corner, but as the year comes to a close and a new year is about to start, it's the perfect post from Panasonic Luminary, Giulio Sciorio. I haven't known Giulio for very long, in fact we met for the first time less than three years ago. However, since then, his images and teaching ability have filled my head with new ideas on how to be more creative with my images.
You can find more of his work, along with the rest of the Luminary team in the Lumix Lounge.
This guest post he sent me plants the perfect seed to help so many of you snap out of our complacency in simply being too comfortable with your technique and skill set. What I enjoy most about Giulio is the way he walks the talk. He's constantly pushing the edge of the envelope and challenging the traditional boundaries of technology and art.
So, take the time to read what he's suggesting, then go back and read it again! If you want to stand out in your community, you've got to make your work different, better than your competitors and not just meet client expectations but exceed them.
Make yourself habit-forming!
by Giulio Sciorio
If you've ever seen live sports, a concert or any activity that requires great focus you'll notice the look of discomfort on the performers face. To make great art one needs to suffer a bit but it's that discomfort that sparks growth.
While no one believes that people like Ansel Adams or Bruce Lee were instantly masters at what they did, somehow we often think the latest tools or technologies will make us a better artist when in fact the opposite is true.
Anything worth doing well is not easy. Simply put, there are no shortcuts to creative growth. Sorry but gear, the latest plugin or gimmick being hawked at a tradeshow will not make you a better photographer. The tools might make your job easier but that's not going to help you have a breakthrough in your creative development.
If you want to be a better photographer you need to be uncomfortable. The problem is it's easy to become comfortable with our image making. Cameras are amazing today and with powerful tools for post production it's easy to make an image look technically perfect but does that perfection make the image good?
Do you only shoot raw? Try shooting JPEG for a day. Are you comfortable with a particular zoom lens? Shoot with a prime or if you don't have a prime don't zoom. Are you a portrait shooter? Explore landscapes for a week. Do you like shooting on the street but approaching a stranger scares you? Perhaps you should be actually talking to strangers and taking their portraits on the street.
There really isn't much conversation for where your fears lie in creating. You already know the answer. Because you know the answer to what scares you, you know what you need to do to grow as an artist.
Do not be reasonable with your creative growth, take action and grow as an artist or sit on the sidelines and watch others grow. I will warn you though, you may grow resentful at others who are exploring and growing creatively while you sit on the sidelines and that is not a positive way to live as an artist or to live your life in general.
Before You Buy a New Camera...
Intro by Skip Cohen
I've written and said this many times before, but the best part of the photographic industry is the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Well, my buddy Mark Toal is back with a post for Luminary Corner and it's perfect for this time of year.
As a consumer, we're all thinking about gifts right now, and a new camera for a family member or good friend is often at the top of the list. Then, as a professional photographer, we're about to enter trade show season and more than likely you're thinking about new gear for yourself.
The following post ran on "Mirrorless Photo Tips" last month, and it's the perfect post to share here at SCU, as Mark hits a couple of important reminders about sensor size and megapixels. However, I want to add one more thought in general about buying a new camera.
Ever had new car fever? It starts out completely innocent; you're just curious about what's out there, but it grows until you decide your old car just doesn't cut it. Then it slowly eats away at you. When one single thing goes wrong, even a flat tire, it pushes you over the edge, and you're shopping for a replacement, new or used. More than likely you're going to be tying up cash, but all along the way you're rationalizing about your need.
New camera fever is often the same. Over and over again I've seen photographers convince themselves they needed new gear when they needed to focus more on developing their skill set first. Mark's two key points on buying a new camera today are perfect to remind you of two of the most important features.
Interested in finding more of Mark's work along with a stellar team of writers/artists? Check out Mirrorless Photo Tips with regular posts by Mark, Joe Farace and Mary Farace. Then, swing by the LUMIX Lounge. You'll never be disappointed with what you find!
by Mark Toal
I work a lot of sales events for Panasonic and talk to a lot of potential camera buyers. Most of the questions I get are about sensor size, megapixels and why shouldn’t I just use my cell phone?
Sensor size: Size does matter, but not as much as most people think. If you are a serious landscape photographer, need to make large prints and don’t mind the weight and size of the lenses go with a camera that has a full frame sensor. Most photographers I talk to don’t fit in this category. They are serious about photography but don’t print at all or don’t make prints larger than 13×19-inches. The sensor size of a cell phone or point and shoot camera is fine for what a lot of people shoot. If you don’t need a zoom lens and mostly shoot for social media a cell phone will probably work just fine for you.
Megapixels: Again this doesn’t matter as much as people think it does. I used to shoot weddings and portraits with a six megapixel Nikon D200. The images still look great and make great prints up to about 16×20. Some of my best photos are with a 10-megapixel Panasonic LX7 and I’ve made prints up to 20×30 inches.
Cell phones: A lot of photographers sneer at using a cell phone as a camera. (Joe just raised his hand.) I think that it’s just as much of a camera as your SLR or mirrorless camera, it just lacks a features like a optical zoom lens and viewfinder.
Note: To Mark's point about cell phones and the image above. We were on Siesta Beach with the most amazing sunset in front of us and storm front behind us, complete with a rainbow. All I had was my cell phone and decided to shoot panoramic. While you can see how beautiful it was, I hate the uneven horizon line and there's only so much you can do to clean it up. I didn't pay enough attention to keeping the camera at the same height as I panned the scene! Plus, a tripod and my LUMIX FZ1000 would have given me the ability to shoot a much stronger image!
Lens quality: Now this matters if you want sharp images with good contrast. If you’re looking for a camera make sure it has a good lens. I don’t think most cell phone have very good lenses but they are improving with every generation.
This photo of a street singer in Seattle is a good example of why you don’t need a large sensor or one with a high megapixel count. I shot it using a Panasonic Lumix FZ300 camera with a (6.17 x 4.55 mm) point-and-shoot size sensor and allowed me to zoom in for a tighter shot.. This image is a single frame taken from 4K video, which is eight megapixels.
My advice it to buy the camera that’s best match for what you want to photograph, not the one with the highest megapixels or largest sensor.
Image of street singer, copyright Mark Toal. All rights reserved.
Welcome to Luminary Corner. Besides being a recognized member of the professional photographic community, each post author is a member of Panasonic's LUMIX Luminary team.