The image featured above was created while working towards my Certified Professional Photographer credentials. It demonstrates the concept of depth of field. As those who were “in the know” at the time will tell you, I was a bit of a mess. The bar set is high and I know many photographers who have passed on this particular bit of chaos. Does it really help? Is it worth the time and effort? In the end, it was more about proving to myself that I could do it. Along the path, I stumbled upon a lot of photographic heritage.
What do I mean by heritage? Quite simply, those techniques handed down from generation to generation. Understanding the basics of composition, lighting, posing, and color is essential to solid, consistent work. There are libraries of information about these topics and more. In today’s world, we have videos galore, not to mention photo conferences and workshops that help us to understand this heritage.
The CPP test has changed since I achieved my goal, but the lesson remains the same: Know your craft. It goes beyond understanding how to create the photograph itself. The various elements are combined in ways that tell amazing stories about amazing people. The great photographers go even farther and create emotion in the viewer. They move you to consider this world upon which we live in a different way. They motivate you to action. You may even find yourself caring about things that normally never cross your mind.
Are you a photographer? Do you want to be one? Whether you are just starting out or if you’ve been on this journey for decades, I hope you’ll keep one eye on our photographic heritage. Think about what drew you into the craft. Now, figure out why it pulled you in the way it did. There is something there. Undoubtedly, there is a story you have yet to tell. Look back on those who lead the way. They will empower you to tell it even better.