Three photography lessons from this one weird old trick!

Holding down the shutter button he peppered the area with repeat images... :: What happened to quality?

Holding down the shutter button he peppered the area with repeat images…
he was hoping for at least one good shot out of that lot!
(P.S. What every happened to forethought and quality?)

Ever hold down the shutter button and hope for the best?

We all have – in modern times at least. In the days of film we didn’t. It was just too expensive to do that. So, here is a lesson you can learn from changing your behaviour. Go for quality in your photography.

The wonderful world of digital has set us into a new era. We can take an individual shot for free, download it for free, process it for free, store it almost free. Wow! It could not be better. Little wonder that we see a shot that is just a little bit difficult and we press the button and start firing off our exposures like we had machine guns. What do we achieve? Dozens of shots that are almost identical. Many of them a waste of time and effort. We are really just hoping against the odds that the shot will some how work out. Think for a moment… Why did you not go for a quality shot that got what you wanted?

Have we lost the ability to ‘make’ a decisive, quality capture?

Try this exercise next time you go on a shoot. Pretend your memory card can only hold 36 exposures. That was the number of negatives you would get from a large roll of film. Next, given that you can only shoot off 36 frames, you need to do three things…

  • Think about each shot – carefully. Plan it, savour it. Make sure that you know what you are going to do before you even put your finger to the button. Set your camera up for it. Aim for a quality result.
  • Frame the shots. Compose each as if there was payback of $64,000 for every good shot. Pick the perfect composition for each press of the shutter button – make that shot pay!
  • Wait for just the right moment… add up all the variables in the shot until you have confidence it will work. At the right instant capture the image – make a photograph.

We seem to have forgotten the power of these three things that went into every photograph in former times:
Forethought;
Framing;
The decisive moment.

These simple things did a lot for photographers. They enabled us to learn what was important in a shot before we started. They helped us to know what we were trying to achieve. They taught us to get it right at the right moment. These simple things made us better photographers and produced quality results.

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Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

5 responses to “Three photography lessons from this one weird old trick!

  1. Damon (Editor)

    You are welcome. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. Oh, I am so guilty of wasting shots (which I would NEVER do with film ; ) Thanks for your suggestions.

  3. Thanks for the tips, Net. I make that mistake all of the time …. and don’t stop to think it all through before I shoot. Must learn to take my time and look at the subject with a “new eye.”

    • Damon (Editor)

      You are very welcome. Thanks for the feedback. It makes it all worth while when people take the time to comment.