Take It Easy

By Roger  (17 Oct 2013)

Today's world is pretty busy for most of us.  We're always running to an event, work, and/or family activities.  You probably already knew that, but think about how this constant hustle-bustle attitude can affect your photography.  Do you rush from photo to photo when you're making photographs?  When someone asks “how did your photography trip go,” do you proudly respond with the high number of total photos you made?

Hey, I'm not picking on anyone.  I've been guilty of the same thing from time to time.  But here's a quick tip to improve your photography: slow down!  Photography isn't meant to be a competitive sport; big photo totals don't equate to big photography success.

First, you probably don't need a hundred photos of that cat, sitting on the chair, to create and share your art.  Yes, digital storage is cheap these days and doesn't look to become expensive again, but that isn't a good enough reason to leave your camera set on continuous high speed for every situation.  (I'm resisting an old guy urge here to talk about the days of 36 prints per roll of film and the time and developing costs we had “back in the day”, not to mention the walking to school uphill.)  The point is to take the time to make the quality photographs you want without resorting to the “spray and pray” style of shooting.

Slow down and work on your composition.  Make sure your landscape has an interesting foreground, middle ground, and background.  Look for leading lines.  Consider a different perspective on your subject to give your photo a look that isn't the same old routine.  You want to a photograph that will grab your viewer's interest.  You can do this when you take the time to consider all the compositional elements within your frame.

Garmisch, Germany

Garmisch, Germany

While we're talking about elements within your frame, take the time to check all fours sides of your viewfinder, looking for distracting clutter.  Often, you can reposition your camera or subject to eliminate the clutter, but too many photographers don't take the time to even see it.  If there is no way to completely rid the background of clutter, try to minimize it.  For example, you can use wide apertures to blur the clutter.  (Please, make sure you take the time to ensure there is sharp focus on your subject.) 

By moving my position, I not only got rid of a distracting background, I was able to bring in a little humor with the sign.

By moving my position, I not only got rid of a distracting background, I was able to bring in a little humor with the sign.

You can slow down a little in your post-processing, as well.  Instead of just throwing a couple of your favorite presets onto every image you make, take the time to make the photograph as unique as it needs to be.  If you find a candy wrapper on the beach in your beautiful, sunset landscape, don't leave it in there.  You should have removed it before you pressed the shutter, but that doesn't mean it can't be taken out later. 

The little chapel was packed, and I couldn't move. I took the photo, knowing that I'd have to remove the microphone in Photoshop

The little chapel was packed, and I couldn't move. I took the photo, knowing that I'd have to remove the microphone in Photoshop

There are definitely times to shoot lots of photos in a short time – sports, weddings, news events – but, there are probably even more times to slow your shutter finger and open your creative consciousness.  Don't rush through your location, and don't turn your relaxing hobby into something stressful.  You can get better results and have more fun if you savor the experience. 

I spent some relaxing time with the accordion player in "Gilmores Light Ensemble" and still had time to take a couple snapshots. 

I spent some relaxing time with the accordion player in "Gilmores Light Ensemble" and still had time to take a couple snapshots.