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The 16-step Quick Guide to Becoming a Photographer!

This is a list I started writing a few years ago. Finally I realised that “ship it” is the best policy in such posts. So here goes. Last few points added today itself. To keep the post up-to-date. You’re welcome to add more in the comments.

  1. Step 1: Buy a camera.
    SLR. Instant professional!
    If not an SLR, then any prosumer bridge. Because it’s so good (read smart purchase), who needs an SLR?
    If not these, then a Point & Shoot. Instant road to underprivileged artist-dom.
    If not a P&S, then use your mobile phone. Ditto.
  2. Post all your pictures, either never opened in any software at all, or post-processed with heavy Warhol-like effects, or heavy faux HDR effects, into an album called ‘random’, ‘the world thru ma eyez’, ‘ma work’.
  3. Big copyright marks are a must. Your name, logo or URL should be very small. The © should be taking up the maximum area. How else would the image thief know that he should not ©opy it?
  4. Thick borders. Extra points for double borders. Bonus points for a thick white border around the black border. Anything to make it look like an old-style wood-framed picture.
  5. And the image title, and your copyright mark just outside the frame, in Comic Sans Papyrus Monotype Corsiva.
  6. Visit all major online photography forums, and create a new discussion thread entitled ‘Please take a look’. You lose points if you give away what kind of photography you are showcasing.
  7. Post a link to your entire album(s). Make sure the album(s) do not adhere to any one or two genres. They must contain everything from a street dog, to a barber in his shop, to a closeup macro of a petunia, to a lit cigarette.
  8. Don’t ask for feedback on any particular picture. Superspecialization is for insects, remember?
  9. Ask them to ‘go thru your work’ and give feedback (read ‘appreciate my inborn talent to the moon’).
  10. If you’ve ‘snapped’ your ‘work’ using a mobile phone camera, mention that with an apology, expecting sympathetic comments. After all, poor you are fighting all those rich mofos with expensive SLRs and still clicking such ‘ossum work’. Two more points on your report card for showcasing poverty.
  11. But the moment someone offers a suggestion get defensive. Your work is ‘ossum’ by itself. You don’t need to improve. Or get a better camera or lens. It’s the world that needs to wrap its heads around your talent. Because you’re ‘ossum’. Your college friends said it.
  12. Either describe the ‘thot’ behind the picture in a paragraph that’s longer than War & Peace, or don’t say anything. Let the viewer wonder if it’s a single shoe flowing in the river or a crow. Because either you want the viewer to appreciate all the thoughts you made up when you sat down to look through the pictures and found this half-decent shot, or your art must be that brilliant that it defies explanation.
  13. Mobile phones > SLR. Anyday.
  14. Emulate the French photographers from 50 years ago with Leicas. Using your smartphone. Same size, almost. Same weight, almost. And there are apps that can make your pics look like they’re 50 years old.
  15. Hipstamatic! Instagram!
  16. Filters! Filters!! Some more Filters!!!
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