11 ways to be a photo Jedi

Photography is an art that needs to be learned. Like the Jedi knights of Star Wars, you need to go through a long learning phase and you may become a true Master.

However, this goes through respect for the rules of the photo Jedi.

1. Learn, Young Padawan

A photo Jedi is not taught, he has to keep learning. He has to keep his eye open for the wisdom of older knights, famous photographers. Always come back to the old masters, search and analyze their pictures for what makes them great. You have to acquire an internal feeling for what will make your photos great.

At first, the photo Padawan is only able to watch and fail. But hard work here will open the path to Jedi knighthood.

Jedi or Sith?
Creative Commons License photo credit: turoczy

2. Do or do not. There is no try

Don’t try to be a good photographer. Become a good photographer.

The Jedi photographer is all about creating great pictures. The master Jedi photographer has recognized that he must be really willing to be one.

If the photo is not as perfect as you want it to be, shoot again. Now!

If the subject is not there when you want it, come back later to shoot it right.

If the light is not the right one, don’t shoot a mediocre picture, wait for the best light.

3. Beware the dark side

Where the Force is, the dark side is too.
Where the light is, the darkness is too.

Of course, you want to ensure that the dark areas of your digital photographs are well exposed and you should learn how to use the histogram and the blinking areas showing underexposed (and overexposed) of your picture on the LCD of the photo camera.

But also, don’t fear the other photographers. There is no competition. Each photo Jedi has his own path. The photo masters are not there for you to feel small and incompetent. They show what can be done with patience. And, don’t shout if you don’t become a photo Jedi master overnight.

Don’t anger when people criticize your pictures. Learn to hear why they dislike your images. Even better, go and show your photos. Ask for the feedback from other photograph Jedi knights in order to learn even more.

4. May the Force be with you!

While growing from Padawan to Jedi knight, from Jedi knight to Jedi master, the photographer in you will grow and your instinct will put itself in your heart.

On this path, the Force of photography will start flowing through your body and soul. You will start feeling from the inside when the light is right, what pictures will look right when printed, where the focal point should be, what rules can be broken.

This growing perception, this sharpened eye is one of the greatest outcome of becoming a photo Jedi.

5. Don’t be a Sith

A photo Sith keeps his pictures covered and hidden by his coat. The photo Jedi is open and seeking for the others.

Help others grow.

Help other photographers. Who knows who will be the next photo Padawan? Maybe this young guy will grow into a photo Jedi master, if you support his budding talent. Obi Wan recognized the talent in Luke despite his being too old for receiving the Jedi teaching.

Help your public. How many people tell “I’m not a photography buff, I just like this picture?” Don’t look at this person as desperately lost out of the photography heaven. He or she may be helped by offering to show photos of some masters. Many a photography book could become the basis for either helping somebody grow into a photo Jedi assistant or even a photo Padawan. Be generous with your art and photography in general; It’s something to be shared.

The Internet is also a great way to share. Flickr, photo-sharing web sites and photo-oriented forums are the place to be.

6. Show empathy

Photography is not only a matter of technique. You must master your weapon (the camera). But it is even more important for the photo Jedi to be in direct contact with and to relate to his subject. It could be a studio model, a wild animal, a landscape or any object; Your photo must express the story that it was telling you. You must be able to render it perceptible to the people looking at your picture.

The story your photo tells must be the story of your subject and it must be told to your public. What story is your picture telling?

7. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for

It’s not enough to use Jedi tricks to reach your goals. It feels good to use the photo Force mere tricks to make a photo. But you are not looking for bland postcards. You are out for excellence. Don’t stop at the first positive reaction from your viewers. When your friends and some people you respect start to recognize that your photos are nice because there the sunset is orange or Grand’ma is not cut out of the frame, it’s time to aim higher in order to reach a point where people will be blown out by your photographer’s prowess.

8. I know there’s still good in you, I can sense it

Luke’s father was lost to the dark side, but he did not loose hope.

Always look for that image which looks irremediably lost. Isn’t it possible to use the Raw file to recover the additional details in the dark areas?

Isn’t it possible to save a hopeless photo just by cutting out the bad part of it? Why not try to re-frame the picture? It’s time to try framing it vertically instead of horizontally (or the other way), to try framing it in a square, to try cutting a panorama out of it.

9. Beware the clones

The Jedi stands out of the croud. In the battle, his light saber will be cutting through the Empire clones.

While the photo Jedi may take his inspiration from all sides, he is seeking his own path. Look at the work of others, but develop your own eye and create your own photos. Do not be afraid to explore your own personal path. Your photos may draw from all that you have seen, your photos may be incorporating many ideas; You must press the shutter trigger to produce your own images.

10. Be direct

The way of the Jedi is not as tortuous as the servants of the dark side wander.

The photo Jedi will express clearly what is his photographic voice. You seek to make sure that the picture is projecting your feelings and your intent. The image will miss its public if it is not aimed right. So, as a photo Jedi, you must not stop at what you felt when you shot the picture. You must always perceive the effect that your picture will have when viewed out of the shooting location. The picture must stand by itself to forward your exact message.

11. Cherish your light saber

The Jedi knight is one with his light saber. The photo Jedi is one with his camera.

Use your camera, use it often, make it your own. When you will start to forget how to move the fingers on the camera body and when you will concentrate on shooting pictures, you will be well on your way to become a photo Jedi.

It does not mean that you need to restrict yourself to only one weapon. As some Jedi knights use two light sabers at the same time, the photo Jedi may have several photo cameras at hand. But he must know them by heart and this only comes from practice, possibly daily practice.

Thanks to Sean Platt and David Wright for their inspiring article in CopyBlogger. I’m glad to know they don’t mind my borrowing of their idea.