Tyler’s Tips Episode 37: Understand your tech


Welcome to Tyler’s Tips. Today I’m going to talk about how powerful it is to understand your technology.

So, why am I even talking about technology? Those of you who have listened to a bunch of my talks, you already know that I don’t talk about tech. This whole series is talking about the creative side of photography. And there’s no way to escape the fact that we are using a complex piece of technology, usually, when we take a photo.

If we’re talking about … Even if you’re using an old medium-format film camera, these are complex mechanical apparatus. Modern DSLRs are incredibly complicated, electronically and mechanically, and even all of our favorite pocket cameras, those things are incredibly complex, more on the software end.

But the point here is that all of this technology, our creativity has to flow through it. The more we understand about how it works, and especially its strengths and weaknesses and limitations, the more effectively we’re going to be able to express our ideas and tell our stories.

This tip is a pretty short one, and what I want to say is I encourage you, whatever your camera is that you like to use, it doesn’t matter which one, try to understand it. Read the manual, look at tips, try to figure out where the edges are. How far can you push it in low light before the image just looks gross to you? How does the highlight roll-off behave with a certain camera under certain situations, how does it handle contrast? How does it handle different colors?

And as you understand this stuff, how can you freeze action, all these different things, there’s so many technical details to photography. But really knowing that, and knowing your camera, whatever it is, you’re going to be well-positioned to execute whatever creativity you feel in the moment, and to really use that camera as a tool to tell the story that you’re trying to tell. The magic is in the storytelling. The camera is our tool, and the better we understand how that tool works, the more effective we are as visual storytellers.

So, as always, thank you for your time, I hope that this was a useful exercise. And if you have any ideas or questions you’d like me to discuss in a future episode, just drop me a line and I’ll work it in. Till next time.