Let HubPatron of the Arts Judge sofs Inspire Your Inner Photographer

If you’re aware of our upcoming HubPatron of the Arts contest (which starts this Tuesday!), you already know that the contest has a photo gallery category. While you might be intimidated by the competition, do keep in mind that some of HubPages’ best photographers are only just getting started.

Are you new to photography? In the following interview, you’ll find that sofs, an excellent Hubber and judge on the photos panel of the contest, is a relative newbie to the photo world as well!  I hope our exchange (along with sofs‘ excellent tips) inspires you to submit some photo galleries of your own to the contest- no matter your level.

When did you first start taking photos?

This is such an interesting question.  I started taking pictures some time after I joined HubPages, maybe about six months ago. I needed pictures to make my Hubs more interesting, and most often the pictures on the Internet were not entirely suitable. I started to think..why not take my own photographs. A couple of Hubber-photographers, timorous and D.A.L, inspired me. I was fascinated by their Hubs and followed them closely, because of their love for nature and for the fine photographs they came up with.  This started my love for photography.  I’m a relative newbie, actually.

What do you enjoy photographing most?

I love nature. I love poetry, and sometimes words are inadequate to express what you feel. Photographs eloquently express all that you want to say in a picture. Photography is poetry in pictures, and I love to photograph nature, especially flowers, leaves, birds, butterflies and animals.  Color and natural compositions in nature inspire me.  I sometimes feel I can’t get enough of them.

Your nature photography, especially that of flowers, is exquisite. What process do you go through when taking photos of plants? Are there certain times of day that are better than others?

I walk around the flowers and try to look at them from all angles. I take a range of pictures from different angles, seeing how the light plays upon the flowers, and how it sometimes highlights certain textures.  A light spray of water, or the inclusion of some leaves or twigs to contrast  the color and the delicate beauty of the flowers..these are some of the things I like to do. Living in a relatively tropical region, means that my best pictures can only be taken for [maybe] up to an hour after sunrise or for a couple of hours around sunset. Light is so important in photography but too much light and glare spoils it as well.

What sort of camera do you shoot with?

At this point, I only have a fairly good point and shoot camera.. so I have a great disadvantage, in that I cannot take distant shots of birds or small objects, but I have realized that it is your passion that matters after all, not just your camera. I do plan to upgrade the equipment I use, but.. I can still do much more even with this tiny little Nikon 12 megapixel camera that I have. I kind of enjoy the challenge of working within the limitations of a simple camera.

As a judge on the photo panel of the HubPatron of the Arts contest, what will you be looking for in entries?

I will be looking for aesthetic presentation of subjects, properly framing the scene, composition, use of color (or black and white), clarity, and to a certain extent, using clever techniques to get the best effect.  The use of light to accentuate details, or create a certain mood is also something I would look for.  Although I don’t use any special software processing myself, I know that some filters, if applied sparingly, can create a visually stunning presentation.

If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring photographers, what would it be?

Advice? hmmm………. Well, since I am a self-improvement, self-help, motivational writer, this is what I have to say…that impossible is nothing. Passion and application is everything. Dedication to what you do and the desire to excel can get you places, set your mind to it. Love your subjects, never tire of snapping photos, don’t take criticism negatively…and you are sure to get better and better all the time. Practice, practice and more practice will get you where you aspire to go.There is so much about photography on HubPages…a wealth of information to help you make the best use of your talents. I know I’ve learned so much here.

My best wishes to all those who are participating and may the best shot win!!

[Thanks, sofs!]

For more information on the HubPatron of the Arts contest, visit the official contest page.