Why Mastering Technique to Create Art Photos

The creation of artistic photographs requires a perfect mastery of the technical environment. Over time, the technique will become secondary because creativity will become the priority for the photographer. Yet it is essential to build solid foundations.

Art Photograph of a Great Crested Grebe in la Dombes. Photograph Taken from a Floating Blind.
Art Photograph of a Great Crested Grebe in la Dombes. Photograph Taken from a Floating Blind.

What is Technique in Artistic Photography

En photographie d’art, le mot technique est un terme général qui concerne aussi bien le matériel de prise de vue, les accessoires mais aussi la manière de calculer une exposition, une profondeur de champ, la manière de gérer parfaitement une netteté et le piqué des photographies. La technique englobe aussi toutes les méthodes de développement des photos ainsi que les impressions avec une imprimante et l’encadrement.

L’apprentissage de la maîtrise de la technique en photographie artistique réclame beaucoup de d’années d’expérience basé sur l’apprentissage personnel, de nombreux tests couronnés parfois de succès mais aussi par des échecs.

Nous avons la chance de maîtriser trois thèmes photographiques très différents : la photographie de paysages naturels, la photographie animalière et la photographie sous-marine. Nous avons mis des années pour acquérir cette maîtrise et nous continuons d’apprendre régulièrement en suivant deux stages par an.

Même si chacun des genres photographiques possède ses spécificités, il n’en demeure pas moins qu’il existe, fort heureusement, une technique commune.

An artistic photographer is obliged to limit his field of action to certain genres so as not to get lost in the maze of technique. Indeed, learning and development are very time-consuming and energy-consuming.

An artist photographer must never forget that the most essential element for him is his creativity to realize photographic works. The technique is only a toolbox.

The Technical Elements Common to All Photographic Themes

Whatever the photographic theme envisaged, the following technical elements are common. A photographer must:

  • Knowing which equipment is best suited to your personal needs: cameras, lenses. Some will prefer light devices because they move a lot. Some will prefer fixed focal lengths; others zoom. Everything is a matter of personal choice. No perfect solution exists.
  • Knowing perfectly how to use the equipment and knowing how to use it properly in the field. Learning at the time of a project or a photo session, it's always too late. This learning must always be done before real shots.
  • Knowing perfectly the parameters of a right exposure and the effects produced on the photos for each of them. For example, it is essential to know how to calculate a zone of sharpness, how to calculate the distance of a hyperfocal plane, to know the limits of the noise according to the situations of shooting.
  • Knowing the differences between what the eyes see and how a camera memorizes a scene. A 24x36 format camera does not look at all like a 16x24 (APS-C) camera that itself is totally different from a 6x6 medium format.
  • Knowing photographing in JPEG, TIFF, DNG or RAW and know the differences between the four recording formats. For example, the JPEG does not allow to adjust the white balance development while the RAW format allows it. This is just one example among many.
  • Knowing how to evaluate an exposure during the shots. Digital cameras have many tools for controlling exposure and shooting frames. They are indispensable and avoid big mistakes.
  • Knowing perfectly all the techniques of development on computer. Development software are very numerous and requires a long learning time to master them. No software is perfect. Each has its specificities. As with material, a photographer must determine which ones are best suited to his practices. In this mastery, we also integrate the interpolation to create photos in large format.
  • Knowing all the different techniques to print photos. For us, a photographic work only exists from the moment it exists on paper. Each photo genre has its quality of paper, its inks. For example, a color photograph does not require the same prerequisites as a black and white photo.
  • Knowing how to frame a photographic work properly with the choice of a frame and a mat.

The Technical Alements Specifics to Each Photographic Theme

It would be too long to develop the different technical elements needed to tackle a particular photographic theme. In our case for example, the knowledge of the different underwater housings and underwater flashes is necessary for underwater photography. In wildlife photography, a good tripod is needed as well as an excellent gimbal head. The list would be really long to develop.

When an artistic photographer chooses a particular theme to express himself, he must focus on listing the specific gear for his activity. Then he will have to study each element to know if it is adapted to his needs. If this analysis is not done properly, it will spend a lot of money and energy wasted because in the field the problems will make him waste time at the expense of his creativity. Better to spend time at the beginng and focus on shooting in the field.

Finally

A photographer who wishes to create photos of art must perfectly know and master all the technical elements inherent in the photographic field he has chosen. It is a guarantee of time saving once in the field. He will be able to express his creativity to convey his messages and emotions through his photographs. We are aware that this is a time-consuming, energy-consuming activity that is not always worthy of interest. Nevertheless, it is indispensable.

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