If only I’d known that then

I was just musing as to what if anything I should say about this picture called West Down Gallops – Wiltshire.

Then the thought occurred to me that perhaps I should write something about what I would have liked to have known when I started photography thirty years ago. Then my mind went blank.

So after a very long pause in typing the sorts of things that were running round in my head were – Know what a good photograph looks like and why, understand the breadth of the photography that has gone before you, don’t be afraid to experiment and have the courage to make mistakes that’s how we learn and ask the what if question – the questions are more important than finding the solution.

So as a practical what do I do to understand myself better here are a few things we could do to address the points raised above.

Know what a good photograph looks like and why – go to exhibitions of the work of the greats in photography.

Understand the breadth of the photography that has gone before you – may be know the work of those who are the big noises in each of the major genres of photography.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and have the courage to make mistakes that’s how we learn – the more you do the more you will learn and create new avenues of enquiry.

Ask the what if question – the questions are more important than finding the solution – you never know you could be on to an interesting photographic journey.

As a photographer it’s easy to teach people to press buttons on computer keyboard in the right order to get a particular look or style of photograph. The things that are more important are creative awareness, intuition and judgement, these are the personality traits that are individual to you and makes us all different.

Being a photographer is a balance between the artistic and technical – these are separate skills and they are needed in balanced way. I know people who are experts at the technical bits and are weak in recognising a picture and vice versa. The ones with biggest potential are the artistic creative types who need to reinforce their technical skills to allow them to present their message in the most effective terms.

Beginners tend to worry about having the right equipment, if I was them from what I know now is I’d worry more about having the right inspiration, motivation and ideas.

And finally a big hello and welcome to all the new Followers of my little Blog.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2012


10 responses to If only I’d known that then

  1. Paula says:

    Andy, love your photo..really , truly ‘speaks’ to me, reminds me of early mornings , cold and beastly but sometimes magical , snorty horses and if only I was aware of the beauty of it then as I am now! That’s life.


    • andybeel says:

      Hi Paula I’m glad you like the picture. Thanks for for commenting and I will see you later in the month. Andy


  2. A.Barlow says:

    Nice write up. I have to agree with most of it. Not all of it of course though 🙂

    I think what makes a good photo to be subjective. Anything that can stir an emotion in you, and that I’m afraid is different for everyone. I find things like composition, lighting, etc to be technical aspects. They are less important IMO. Sure, they can help convey a message, but you have to have one to start with!


    • andybeel says:

      Hi Aaron that’s what is great about art it is so subjective. I only wrote down what was in my head a few days ago, next week I would probably say something different.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment on my work – it’s appreciated.


  3. Jack Farrell says:

    Agree with you completely. Of course, once one learns the technical skills, a lot of practice and a critical eye is what is needed to develop creativity and artistry. One must get a lot of practice by actually shooting pictures, which is quiet inexpensive with digital cams. Your advise, to view the work of the fine masters, seem to me to be the best way to develop a critical and discriminating “eye”. And, that is why I really enjoy viewing the websites of some of the master photographers like yourself. It would be nice to frequently visit the fine galleries and exhibitions, but those are very rare out here. Viewing online is not quite the same, but surely much better than nothing at all.


  4. Lesley says:

    Quote……Being a photographer is a balance between the artistic and technical, ……yes, that is why I do it and I agree to experiment is so importnat, I dont do enough of it ……but you have reminded me to do so today! Thank you


    • andybeel says:

      Hi Lesley one useful tip I read on creativity is to have the same mindset when you review the pictures as when you took them. Harry Callaghan spent his whole life on a jourmey of photographic discovery through play and experimenting.



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