One of the lessons I was reminded of recently is to shoot what catches your attention and you find interesting. The point that this person was making in his post “unnecessary adjustments” was to trust our instincts more and not focus too much on the “rules” of photography and composition. This reflected an idea that I had come across from Scott Kelby where he encouraged people to take photos of something if it catches your eye. Don’t walk on by and think it might come back later but take photos of it. It might never come back and if it catches your eye, then there is something interesting there.
Ken Rockwell (love him or loathe him) has a similar idea where he says
“Stop and ask yourself what it is exactly that made you stop in the first place”
I think this is a great exercise to help us develop our photographic voices (by working out what are the things we actually like taking photos of) but also to help us tune our vision as we work to take our photos. If we know what it is that is important and good in the image, we can refine our image to strengthen that point.
Don’t over think
One of the traps I fall into all the time is overthinking my photos. As I walk along I might see something that I think could be interesting…but then I think some more and realise it’s a cliche, it’s been done before, it probably won’t work as I can’t position myself right (etc etc etc) so I don’t take the shot. Most of the time those thoughts are (partially?) true, but it’s prioritising the product over the process and ultimately I should treat those moments more as practice. The chance to try and get a good photo in a bad situation or take a photo of an overdone scene so when the perfect moment finally arises, I’m ready.
Trust your gut
So I’m learning to trust my gut more and take photos of things which feel interesting, even if they don’t end up being interesting at all. Unsurprisingly this has dramatically increased the number of photos I’ve been taking recently and I’ve ended up with more good shots (still not great). That has to be a good thing.
So my two takeaways are
- Shoot what you find interesting
- reflect on why you wanted to take that photo.