Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Be Deliberate

With the advent of the digital photographic age it seems that we as photographers are trying to speed everything up. While aspects of photography like post processing, workflow, and frames per second certainly have benefits for speed there is one aspect that doesn’t. I am talking about the time it takes to create or make an image. When photographing with slide film we generally took a bit more time because each frame cost money. Not only did it cost to buy the film in the first place but it cost more in most cases to have it developed, especially if you used a professional lab. To really improve we also had to take notes for given situations and try to match them up when we received our images back after a couple weeks. It was a painful process. However, in that process we became masters of our work. We took extra time to see the tonality of the image and to ensure that everything was perfect before we clicked the button. “Fix it in Photoshop” wasn’t an option. If we didn’t get it right we wasted money and the shot was lost.

I have been guilty of moving too fast and rushing through a session or an outing. It is very easy to get in the habit of taking several shots to get it all set rather than setting it all and taking a shot. It seems that we as photographers are often under pressure, actual or perceived, to give a client hundreds of images (or even thousands for weddings) rather than a handful of great images. By doing that I am not certain that we are providing the quality service that we could. Besides, if you take the time to get it right then you can move on to other scenes or compositions. Being deliberate with your photography also helps speed up your workflow and post processing because there is less editing involved.

Sure, at a wedding you may have to move a little faster and take a few more images but that was the case back in the film days too. A wedding day is full of things needing photographed and you are on a time table! Perhaps you are a child photographer and you have to take several shots to get the expression you want. That too is fine and if you have taken the time to get everything set then when that expression shows itself you can easily get the shot. Don’t spray and then pray you got the shot. Know that you got it and move on.

This blog post is as much for me as it is for you and here is my final advice. Slow down and be deliberate. I’ll bet your images improve right away if you take the time to make them.

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