Simplify the Photography Process
We are bombarded with images on a daily basis. Over 350 million images are uploaded to Facebook each day. Today, most people are walking around with a camera in their pocket, ready and eager to shoot every element of their lives. In fact, it’s actually difficult to get through a day without seeing someone taking a picture, whether its a selfie, a picture of their meal or a cute little cat photo.
And then- you quickly pop onto your social media accounts to have a quick look and you are flooded with those images. As a photographer you are probably also following a photo group or two for a bit inspiration and guidance. This is when you can be overwhelmed with the sheer volume and quality of images that are presented to you. No matter how much you have developed as a photographer, you will inevitably be confronted with images of such high quality that it can have you asking ‘why bother’? You question whether you will ever be able to take pictures of that quality.
I’ve found that in these circumstances one of two things can happen:
- You give up trying because you convince yourself that you will never be able to take photos that will match the quality of the ones you see on-line.
- In your quest to find some element of originality, you end up making the photography process so complex that you begin running short of motivation to keep taking the photos.
That’s the position I found myself in recently. Basically I had gotten to a point where all of my photo shoots required me to lug around lighting equipment and backdrops, assorted photography gear and the PC – and then there were the hours spent in post processing. Alternatively, when I wanted to focus on my Seascape or Nightscape photography, it meant early mornings or late nights, long drives which often lead to disappointment when the weather and lighting conditions didn’t evolve as expected. The more complex my projects became, the more I found myself making excuses for not picking up the camera.
Challenge Yourself with Photography but Keep the Process Simple
For a variety of reasons, I began to explore Bird Photography and quickly found myself passionate about the genre. Don’t get me wrong, Bird Photography is not a simple genre to tackle. You are constantly adjusting your exposure settings and are also presented with a range of focusing challenges that can happen in a blink of an eye. You will most likely return home from each shoot with more bad images than good.
One of the things I have found truly appealing about Bird Photography is that in addition to having the opportunity to capture truly beautiful nature photos, Bird Photography has offered me an opportunity to simplify the photography process. It is quite simple to pick up your camera, head to the local park and begin photographing.
This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to embrace Bird Photography to re-ignite your photography passion, there are many other subjects you can tackle to simplify the photography process and get the creative juices flowing again. You may wish to photograph flowers, trees, insects, architecture and many other potential subjects. Selecting a subject that has a simple photography process can really be narrowed down to two criteria:
- A subject that allows you to concentrate on the basics – Composition, Exposure and Focus, eliminating all the additional complex options that today’s cameras offer.
- Something that allows you to simply grab your camera when you are presented with a spare hour or two, that doesn’t require complex planning or travel
Keeping the process simple means you are more likely to head out on a moments notice and be excited about picking up your camera again.
Photography is a Personal Journey
With the ability to post your images on-line and share with people outside your circle of family and friends, it is very easy to get caught up in comparing your images to others. In fact there are numerous photography social media sites that run contests and offer awards in addition to the accolades you can achieve with likes and comments. Most camera clubs also have regular judging nights which can leave you feeling a bit dejected if your images fails to capture the judges, subjective eye.
There can be value in entering these contests and seeking out the opportunity to get constructive guidance with your photography, but they are not the be all and end all. First and foremost, photography is a personal journey, one of creativity and self discovery. Seeking to challenge yourself is more likely to motivate you than constantly comparing your work to others.
Bird Photography allowed me to set some very straight forward goals for myself and allowed me to develop a photography project that keeps me motivated. Quite simply, each time I head out with the camera I am either trying to capture a new bird species that I haven’t photographed before or I am attempting to capture a better quality image of a bird that is already in the collection. The outcome is that I have a photography collection that is constantly expanding and improving whilst also encouraging me to pick up the camera more often.
Live in the Moment.
The funny thing is, now that I have discovered a project that just allows me to keep things simple and to grab the camera and head out on a moments notice, I have found that my passion and motivation for the other, more complex photography projects I like to embark on has also been re-kindled.
So, in addition to any complex and detailed photography projects you may be embarking on, remember to also have a genre that allows you to keep things simple, something you can do at a moments notice.
Also remember to live in the moment and enjoy the additional benefits that photography can offer. On days where my bird photography doesn’t produce any new species or better quality images to add to the collection, I have at least had an hour or two, away from the computer, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and have had a lovely break in a local park – enjoying nature.
If you would like to have a look at my Australian Bird Photography project – Australian Birds – The collection is constantly growing and improving!
Looking for a bit of motivation to get your project underway? Here are some up-coming Photography workshops you may find valuable:
1st - 3rd May - Merry Beach
11th - 13th Sept. - Capertee Valley
6th - 8th Dec
13th - 16th Mar. 2020