Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Shoot, shoot, no wait, well sort of…no stop, no, shoot again

Good Wednesday from Prospect.

Canon EOS 5D, ISO 100, f/1.4, 1/500th with Sigma 50mm f1.4
Nice shallow DOF straight from the camera

This may sound a little repetitive to some but I'd like to talk about shooting non stop. You know what I'm referring to. Everyone and his dog on the net that even opens his or her mouth about photography says just shoot, don't stop. Hit that shutter as often as you can. They all say that's what makes a great photographer. But the one thing they don't explain is what the hell you should be shooting.

I do agree that the more you click that shutter the better you will get. About 70 percent of that statement is true. With time, if you experiment, you gain invaluable knowledge about your gear and your surroundings. With practice, accurate exposure and the use of DOF will become second nature.

But without purpose shooting is meaningless. Useless images with no thought are also just that, useless.

It is important to slow down and think before you press that shutter.

Sometimes going backwards sends us forwards, Shooting film is one way that gives us the thought process we are looking for. Using up a frame that we can't chimp right away makes us think about what's in front of us. Film, whether you scan on not is final. It's permanently fused for the future to see. No excuses and no photoshop will change that.

Now there is the argument that the ability to instantly see your mistakes allows you to learn and grow much quicker. except without direction we simply repeat past errors. I'm not referring to the beginner that is just learning what a camera is, beyond an automated point and shoot, but the photographer that's looking to grow. 

I mean do you really need to shoot your reflection in a mirrored elevator? Well it's not like it's been done before has it. And you wonder why you aren't progressing?

So called good photographers that don't have a clue about their gear are not good photographers, just lucky. You can't rely on them to deliver consistently. And what do they usually say about their technique? Ahh I'll fix that in photoshop, no one will know the difference. Or, hey it's art.
Yeah they will, shit in is shit out, period.

Take the time to think about what you're shooting, slow down and compose, following the rules you know will make a better image and you a better photographer. Start with a conceptual process of what you want to achieve. Goal making works in photography and real life, no really it does. Just in life it can be life altering. With a camera, not so much, but treat it as something important. You're not curing cancer with a camera but you may alter another individuals ideas about life in general. Photos can tell great stories.

I read today that the world is over flowing with more photographers than ever before with the accessibility to digital cameras. Everyone's a photographer. Well sorry to say only a few are ones that we want to see what they've shot.

Think about the value of what you're capturing and think about what you may learn from it. That will make you a better photographer than just snapping away. Spraying and preying gets you nothing but wasted time.

My first photography instructor in 1978 told me " Don't be afraid to press the shutter, it's only film" I add, "Just be afraid of what you might bring back". 

If great photographers are great problem solvers then find problems to solve and make your image. You'll chase your tail if you can't see the path to follow.

If I don't see it I don't shoot it. I mean here I sit writing this post and I have 2 frames of Provia in one film back and 4 frames of Ilford in another with shitty weather outside and no thought on what to shoot. Ahhhhh! If I just shoot them they'll just suck. Need to think.

Until next time, Enjoy, Derek

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