I'm presuming that this article will not apply to most of us… but after 3 conversations in the last week which revealed the same photography problems in 3 different people – I thought I'd better jot them down.
Warning: none of this is rocket science sometimes the basics need to be said!
1. You don't Take Your Camera With You
If you don't practice using your camera you're unlikely to ever grow in your understanding of and skill in photography and if you rarely have it with you – you'll not get that practice.
Does that mean you need to lug your DSLR and all your cumbersome gear around with you all the time?
Maybe – I have friends who are never without their main camera – but if that's just not practical, at least make sure you have a smaller point and shoot or even a decent camera phone with you at all times. While the quality of the images you take might not be as great with these cameras – at least you'll be practicing your composition, thinking about light, color and other aspects of photography.
2. You're Going too Fast
Many of us lead life at such a fast pace that we rarely stop to see the opportunities right before us to take wonderful images.
You can carry your camera around with you 24/7 for the rest of your life but unless you learn to slow down and to look at the world a little differently you may never actually use it.
As a result – I guess one of the tips I find myself giving to some that I talk to is to find ways to slow down – or at least slow down temporarily to set aside time to be a bit more intentional about photography. It might start by taking a walk with the main objective of doing some photography but could also be something bigger like a weekend away with your camera or even taking a photography class or tour.
For me its about building photography into your daily rhythm and in time it starts to become a more natural thing as you get in the habit of seeing life a little differently.
3. You are Worried what Others Will Think
I've come across quite a few people lately who suffer from ‘framing paralysis'.
They take their camera with them and they even slow down enough to see the photographic opportunities around the – but there's just something that stops them lifting their camera up to frame the shot.
When I dig a little I've found in most of these instances the person is simply worried about what others around the will think if they use their camera. Will they look stupid? Will people think that they're photographing them?
Its a feeling I'll admit to having myself in the past and when I asked about it on our Facebook page the other day it seems that it's quite common.
I guess the key to moving through framing paralysis is to grow your confidence as a photographer. For me the more photos I took and the more I began to exercise the discipline of taking images the easier it got. Another friend of mine got over his paralysis by finding a photography buddy to go out with – two of the taking shots somehow seemed less confronting than him doing it alone.
What do You Think?
Of course the above are very simple things that hold many people back and there are bound to be others that readers here at dPS might have experienced. I'd love to hear from you on two fronts:
- what other simple things hold you (or other photographers) back from improving?
- what tips and solutions would you give others facing these problems?
I'm looking forward to hearing more from the dPS community on this!