Ahh the Christmas holidays... a time to relax, recharge the batteries and let your sleeping pattern disappear into complete chaos.
I've been off work for a week and I'm already slipping into my naturally inbuilt nocturnal instincts; it's only been bad for a couple of nights so there's still hope yet! I've been making use of my late nights by spending more time developing (top quality pun) my Photoshop skills and just having some general photography study time. I think time investment is so important for anything in life. Obviously practice makes perfect... actually getting out there and taking photos is a large part of moving forward. But study is important to help build upwards. To get a deeper understanding of the technical aspects of photography is absolutely crucial in progressing.
Tonight I've been looking at some wedding photos I've taken throughout this summer and trying to think "How could I improve this shot?". Maybe all it needs is a slightly different composition, expose down half a stop to get more detail, more attention to all layers within the photograph when it's being taken (foreground, middle & background) and learning to pay attention to how the layers of the photo are complimenting each other (or not if there's an ugly pylon in the backdrop of a scenic landscape for example).
Through the years I've been involved in photography it's always amazed me how much skill is actually involved in taking a good photograph. Anyone can point a camera at something and take a snapshot; heck, it's so easy these days with such incredible (and affordable) technology at our fingertips. But what's the difference? Why can't anyone just pick up a professional level DSLR and call themselves a professional? From my reading of photography articles over time, sadly there are many people out there who do just that.
I think the crucial difference between someone who can take a snapshot and someone that can take a good photograph is time and experience. Knowing how the hundreds of variables involved in photography relate and impact on each other is something which only comes with years of experience and study.
I love getting out there and practicing! It's great fun and extremely rewarding. If you've just started out in photography then don't let others put you down or think that you'll never reach the level of photography where people are in awe of your work. It all comes with time.
Speaking of time, and how to save it, I've been working on some actions. For anyone who doesn't use Photoshop, you can save a series of tasks within Photoshop as and "action" and then run it on any photo or group of photos you choose to save time. Hopefully I'll improve with these in time too but here's a sample image from Emily & Kenny's wedding earlier this year with some of the actions I've created tonight. I'll probably look back on this in years to come and think of many ways it could be changed/improved upon but I'm pleased for a first go at trying to save myself some time. Anyways, think I should get some sleep now!