Santino Zafarana is the author of the new book Think Before You Shoot: The Art of Taking Creative Photographs. A photographer, he teaches at the Creative Photography Workshops school in Los Angeles.
Q: What inspired you to write Think Before You Shoot?
A: Being a photographer and educator for over 45 years, I wanted a way to share, help and inspire anyone who was interested in taking better photographs.
My book is a combination of 204 pages of fine art photographs with 21 pages of proven techniques that are short and concise to help anyone take more creative photographs. That is why I called my book Think Before You Shoot, to help break the vicious cycle of taking bad “point and shoot” snapshots.
Q: How did you choose the photographs to include in the book?
A: I chose the photographs very carefully; each photograph has an emotional feeling which is key to making a long-lasting, successful photograph.
I carefully laid the images out like a road map, visually and emotionally taking you on a photographic journey to help anyone learn and see how straightforward it is to take great photographs.
Q: How have changes in technology affected the way people take photographs, and how they think of them?
A: The advancement in technology simply helps us take a more usable exposure, but that still leaves many areas of taking a great picture left to learn. I always said if automatic functions were so good, then why do they keep putting manual settings in cameras or additional apps to make your photographs better?
There are many simple techniques in my book to improve your picture-taking that technology still cannot figure out--like great composition, capturing a feeling and mood, understanding foreground vs. background, shadow, silhouettes, how to soften your background so your subject stands out in your photograph, plus many more techniques that are described in my book in just two paragraphs for each technique.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from the book?
A: The knowledge that it’s easier than they think to take a good impressionable photograph if they simply “Think Before You Shoot” and learn to apply these specific proven techniques.
This will build a good visual and technical foundation in anything someone loves to photograph, supporting the end results. The beauty about photography is that the proof is in your photograph--they are getting better.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am working on promoting the book since it is being sold in 20 countries around the world. Also exploring new material for displaying my fine arts prints for the upcoming show next year.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: Just remember to always enjoy your creative photographic journey, no matter where you are in your life.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb