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Shoot Less

I now realise that there was another cost. With all this constant snapping I was losing my skills as a photographer. Sure, I could see a scene, shoot it and make appropriate adjustments on the camera before shooting again. But I stopped thinking “before” I pressed the shutter release.

Digital had cost my skill. Or almost.

I gradually realised that I no longer viewed the scene before I put the camera to my eye. I didn’t see the components in their entirity and I didn’t compose as accurately as I should. I forgot to look for lamposts coming out of people’s heads and didn’t get the groups to all look at the camera at the same time. I relied on repeating a shot to get it perfect and when I downloaded my images I could have easily have discarded 90% or more of them.

This wasn’t what I wanted in photography and the digital medium, which was such a great advance in photography, had been taken and manhandled by me. I was becoming a bad photographer.

But now I have reformed. I still take shots that I am not proud of and I still discard a good proportion of my images. But I think more than I used to in order to harness the digital medium rather than ignore it.

Now I shoot less. And by doing so I put more thought into each image. I look for the right light, the right expression, the right patterns and the right timing. I look around the viwefinder to see what is there and try, where possible, to get an image that needs little or no manipulation after download.

I ask myself a series of questions: why am I taking this shot? what do I hope to achieve? what needs to be added or taken away to make the image better? where is the light coming from, where does it fall and what quality does it have? what adjustments do I need to make before taking the picture – how can I harness the power of my camera in order to get it right first time?