How do we make photography a key part of our lives? It takes time, writes Cymon Brooks*.
It’s easy to get stuck behind the camera. Often we’re so caught up trying to capture a moment we forget to ‘live’ it. The good news is you can have the best of both worlds. By making photography a natural part of your everyday life, you can capture important moments without detracting from them. It all comes down to these simple steps.
This means you can break rules, experiment and not be tied to ‘perfection’. Some of the best photographers do this by experimenting behind the lens. When I get the opportunity to photograph an individual, I do this by trying different lighting, angles, colour, black/white exposures and depth of field settings.
Find your style
Keeping it natural is all about developing your photography style. I have met photographers who are dedicated to shooting only landscape, cityscape and seascape photos. Yet others are only interested in the macro world.
Once you begin to find your style, you achieve a better result and can experiment with the many different types of exposures/settings. Developing your own, natural style becomes second nature to you, taking away any stress and helping you to enjoy each moment.
Style is always changing
Once you find your style, it becomes a free-flowing, living expression of yourself. Try not to push or compare yourself with others. Remember, other people have had years to develop their own creative expression. Instead, focus on what you’re passionate about, and let this evolve so experimentation is a natural part of your photography.
It takes time
There are moments when photography will happen on a whim and you will feel inspired to capture a moment. Often though, in order for it to become an organic part of our lives, we need to practise and plan ahead. This allows you to separate ‘camera’ time from ‘living’ time when you put the carmera down and enjoy the experience.
Before I take most of my photos, I consider what I want to achieve. When it comes to landscape, I will research using web maps, viewing other photos and visiting the area. To cut out moments of anxiety or stress, learn about what your camera can do by reading the manual and reviews online. There are many hidden settings that can bring that extra life into your pics, and knowing these will lessen frustration and help you to concentrate more on the outcome.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the functions of a camera and be obsessed with getting the ’perfect’ shot, but relax. It will become more organic as you learn and grow. Set yourself realistic goals and expectations, and don’t be afraid to experiment and learn from your mistakes.
Remember, photography is about capturing a moment, not controlling it. So don’t be afraid to enjoy the experience as this will naturally come across in the final product.
*A collection of Cymon Brooks’ images has been published in a devotional book, Vision, by Salvo Publishing. Available for $25 p.p. from www.salvationarmy.org.au/supplies.