Once upon a time while at a Penn Camera group dinner, we were talking about photography and one of the Penn founders made a comment that has stuck with me to this day.
It was something along the lines of... When we photograph, we should take our time and frame what we really want to capture. We wouldn’t need to take so many extra photos if we took more time before we pressed the shutter button.
At the time, film and digital were both popular and his comment surprised me. In one way, he was a business owner so the more images a film shooter took, the more profitable it would be for the company. And with digital, it would be easy to take extra pictures and delete the ones we didn’t want later.
That was a good 15 years and the other day something reminded me of it. Looking at it today, it makes so much more sense than it did then. Along those lines, today I would say to people, shoot less and shoot more.
SHOOT LESS refers to what the Penn Camera owner was saying, take your time, frame with intention and capture what’s in your mind’s eye. If you don’t have an idea of what you want to frame, take some test shots, review them, and then recompose and shoot with intention.
I think we’ll see an improvement in our photography if we take our time, think about what we are photographing, and how we want to convey what we see with our eyes into the image we capture with our camera. Additionally, it makes it so much easier on the backend when there aren’t so many images needing sorting, sifing and deleting.
The biggest benefit though is perfecting our craft. When looking at our images after the fact, we can see how we might have captured them better or we can affirm that we captured them the way we intended. Either way it can be a good learning experience.
SHOOT MORE refers to getting out there more often and photographing. The more we photograph the better we become.
- We make more mistakes and those mistakes teach us valuable lessons.
- We learn what we like and what we don’t like.
- We improve our vision.
- We perfect our craft.
-We are more inspired and excited for what we can capture.
-And, we have more fun.
Hopefully we can get out a few times each month and enjoy photography. Clearly, it’s easier to do in the warmer weather but even in the cold winter, we should seek out opportunities to photograph. Indoors or out there is plenty to work with. The point is to shoot more often.
As we start the new year, we might be thinking about ways to improve our photography. For me, I’m going to try shooting less and shooting more.
Center photo by Paula Freer