Mario Co is a nationally recognized photo journalist and my father. Many photographers would love to apprentice with my father but he has only taken me under his wing.
Back in college, my father made me his assistant taking care of the equipment, fixing his files, and eventually taking pictures under his tutelage. Some of our work has graced national and international products.
Here are a few things that I have learned from my famous father:
Train artistic talent
As a child, my dad encouraged me to learn other art forms. In school, portrait sketching, painting and paper mache were used to develop my artistic eye. Origami, puzzles and dress making are hobbies that taught me structure and shapes.
With portrait sketching, lines, structure, balance and shading were learned. Later skills were enhanced by practicing with portraits of classmates from photos.
Cross stitching famous artwork is a hobby. Months are devoted to studying an artist’s vision as the cross stitch threads form the picture.
Most Photoshop experts and web designers use HTML colors. Cross stitching has trained me to match thread color palettes to calibrated monitors. This use of thread colors carries into our work with photos, logos, brand designs and backgrounds.
Photo retouching is another hobby. Pixels are the tiny dots making up a photograph. With photo retouching a photo is reduced to changing literally thousands of pixels.
Take my father’s advice. Any hobby that improves your artistic talent will help develop your photographic talent.
Sharpness is everything; blurriness is nothing
Never say you have never taken blurry pictures. Even the professionals make mistakes. It could be caused by the shakes, the wind or the subject moving on.
Blurry pictures never make front page news or make it to a cover of a magazine. Blurred pictures take you longer to fix using software like Adobe Photoshop. Why waste time and effort becoming a Photoshop expert when the solution is simple? If you think that the first shot was blurry, take another, its always good to never regret going for a second photo.
Back-up… back-up… back-up…
Have you ever gone on a trip, to a major event or just a plain night out on the town with camera in hand? You take a million photos and put them in your computer. You view your photos, laugh and just plain forgot to copy them to DVD’s.
A couple days later, your PC crashes due to hardware hiccups, viruses or any number of things that can go horribly wrong. All those pictures gone … poof. Then you say you should have gotten them into DVDs.
Always have a back up plan. Professional photographers use multiple cameras and immediately back up their photos. There is no opportunity to redo a wedding or national event. Photography sessions with professional models or celebrities is extremely costly to retake.
You have one chance to tell your story in photographs. Don’t lose your photographs when backing up takes only minutes.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
In this case, it’s the camera’s eye that will do the capturing. Sometimes that eye will tell all the truth . . . all the lines, the folds and the wrinkles. Sometimes that same eye will capture the attention of all who look at it. Fortunately for us, the camera has and will never make obsolete the most important thing, the person who views our photos.
Father Knows Best. Use these tips to improve your photographic skills and preserve generations of memories.