We recently asked you on social media what you’d like to see more of from Leica. Most of you wanted to see more photography tips and inspiration, so we caught up with Robin Sinha, who leads our Leica Akademie photography training programme and spoke about all things photography.
"Heading up Leica’s Akademie in the UK, I am fortunate to liaise with gifted and inspiring photographers on a fairly regular basis. I have met the likes of Elliott Erwitt, Bruce Gilden and Alex Webb, and of course numerous other lesser known photographers who I equally admire and respect.
Tip 1: Research photographers that inspire you
Finding photographers that you can associate with, and whose work evokes an emotional response in you, can only be a positive thing. I believe it can lead to a greater understanding of your own work and challenge you to begin questioning why you do what you do. Think about what it actually is about their work that interests you.
Paul Henry Van Hasbroeck, 2017 ©Robin Sinha
Tip 2: Photograph what interests you
I often encounter people that are looking for new inspiration with their photography. The root of the problem, more often than not, lies in the fact that they are pursuing an area of photography that ignites little or no passion from within. I, myself, enjoy photographing people and would struggle photographing landscapes for example, day in, day out. This is how I feel now but I remain open to the possibility that this might change in the future.
Claire Barrow, 2012 ©Robin Sinha
Tip 3: Don’t be afraid to photograph what’s already been photographed
With the overload of imagery we experience in today’s Internet culture, and the constant documentation of everything around us, it’s not surprising that we can start to feel the pressure of discovering something unique and unexplored. In reality, there is probably very little that hasn't already been photographed. Dump this pressure immediately! If you’re interested in it, photograph it. It’s good to be aware of how other photographers may have approached the same or a similar subject, but use it purely as a source of inspiration. Your photographs will always be unique. Nobody is taking that same photo at that precise moment in time – that’s part of the magic of photography.
Farhood, 2017 ©Robin Sinha
Tip 4: Seek honest feedback from photographers you respect
Receiving constant praise regarding your work is no help at all! Of course, it’s nice to hear positive feedback but it doesn’t challenge us to progress as photographers. With today’s social media frenzy, we (myself included) seek admiration from those who follow us, and if we don’t receive it as expected, we start to question ourselves. ‘Likes’ and number of ‘followers’ are NOT a way to ascertain the quality of your photographs. Seeking honest critical feedback and constructive criticism from photographers you admire is a much healthier way to go.
David Suchet, 2107 ©Robin Sinha
Tip 5: Work with a prime lens – simplify
There’s nothing wrong with working with a zoom lens. A zoom lens can in fact be extremely useful, and perhaps even vital, for certain photography pursuits. I myself often pull out a zoom lens if I’m photographing an event for example.
The beauty of using a prime lens is how it simplifies the photographic process. Apart from the superior optical quality, a prime lens encourages you to consider the frame before even bringing the camera to your eye. You become extremely aware of your working (photographing) distances, and you start to instinctively move into position. With a zoom lens there’s that temptation to hunt for the frame through the viewfinder. You move the zoom back and forth, striving for the perfect composition, and meanwhile you’ve probably missed the shot! The other advantage of prime lenses is that they often require the photographer to get relatively close to the subject. This action in itself can lead to a more engaging photograph.