Blog #58 Micro & Macro Education in Photography

June 18, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Blog #58 Micro & Macro Education in Photography

In this week’s blog, I would like to offer some food for thought on the concept of education in photography.  As an artistic medium and endeavour, like most things, formal or informal instruction as well as practice is required for improvement.  I offer that there are two distinct types of learning that lead to improvement of the photographer.  Let’s call them Macro and Micro Education and discuss how they relate to personal improvement.

Very simply, Micro education involves: education of the use of lenses for specific applications, composition, aperture and shutter speed, ISO, post processing techniques akin to the darkroom such as burning, dodging, vignetting, black and white, high contrast, selective coloration, toning (cyanotype, printing images in blue tones or another colour such as sepia), depth of field manipulation and other related technical aspects of making an image or printing an image.  

We all must learn the technical side of making images to enhance our creative process.  Modern cameras, have many controls that afford the photographer multiple tools at his or her disposal to make the connection from the image in their head (vision) and the final product.  The more we learn how to operate these controls, the closer we bring our vision into the real world.  Take back-button focus, for example. Do you need this? How do you know if you need this feature? 

In contrast, Macro education includes learning and professional development on the topics of: defining style, finding your artistic voice, developing your inner artist statement and having something to say. This is harder to teach, and therefore harder to learn.  This comes in time and although many introduction to photography courses might make mention of or try to address this topic, I expect that this aspect of the process might get lost along the way in many cases.  Most of the articles online these days surely fail to address this all-important and arguably essential aspect of photography. 

Both Micro & Macro are required for an intersection with the artist that will work well and communicate something uniquely specific from you and your photographic vision.

I’m reminded by the old saying:

“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” 

“Practice, Practice, Practice!” 


Watch John Free's advice to street photographers to practice and view some previous Blogs on the subject of self improvement (See Blog #7 & Blog #52).

Now get out there and make some art! 


The light is always right.




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