Just before the end of 2016, I had a meeting with a fellow photographer in my hometown in San Francisco Agusan del Sur. I was interested to know how the photography industry is doing and the skills of photographers in the area. My idea was to conduct a workshop so I can contribute additional knowledge about photography and improve the skills of my town folks.
Learning in photography is forever. There can only be a start but never an ending. A photographer will always be a student no matter what level of proficiency he is at. The basic principles can be learned in a matter of day and pretty much, you’ll be shooting with you camera the following day. However, it’s the art and style of photography that goes on and never ends.
You’ll also discover that exploring the basic principles will lead you to different techniques. In the case of focal length, even if you already know how it works, it’s how and where to use it to achieve a particular perspective of a scene.
A longer focal length would mean that the background will be compressed towards the foreground and only a narrow background can be seen. The opposite means farther and wider background from the foreground.
This is a basic principle of focal length. You may not know it or if you do, there’s no right focal length, just a decision on how you want you image to appear. Every photographer may vary, It’s how you use it to express you take on a particular scene. Focal length is definitely not exclusive for the purpose of zooming in and out.
Aperture is another story. There are photographers who set their opening to the widest. They love the idea of bokeh when shooting portraits. While it’s not bad at all to shoot bokeh, you tend to forget that a good background helps a lot in telling a story of a shot.
Background elements help in telling a story and adds to the geometric composition. After all the techniques, one must not forget that an emotion coming from your subject or even an emotion coming from the viewer will create a connection between the photograph and the viewer.
To those photographers joining the Sinulog Photo Contest, respect the spectators and the street dancers. Give them space. This is the best time to practice for both newbies and professionals. Enjoy the festivities and keep on shooting everyone for 2017!
Text and photos by Albert Pedrosa