Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

How to Pause and Learn to Make Fewer and Better Photos

The question I always impress on my students that they should ask themselves is Why? Why are you taking this picture, interrogate the reasons that made you stop and look and raise your camera. If you can understand why that will help you to point the camera at the right bit of your subject but also tell you how to set the camera. I ask my students to employ a simple technique which I describe as close, closer, still closer. By looking harder, pausing and thinking about why, taking a picture, then getting closer and doing the same you learn how to understand what about the subject moves you

Launceston Gorge Tas Au © Keith Barnes

Launceston Gorge Tas Au © Keith Barnes

This article on Digital Photo School A Post By: Kim Manley Ort explains this in a different way but I totally agree with the ideas here. If you want your pictures to improve read this and learn what it is that makes a photographer.

At the end of each year do you find yourself with thousands of photos and wonder what to do with them all? Or wondering if you should even keep them? This is a lament that I often hear in my photography workshops and have experienced the same problem myself. Sometimes, this is a result of being too quick to click. You see something that excites you photographically and proceed to snap away, hoping that you’ll cover all the bases and that at least one shot will be a keeper. Sometimes this works and you do get one that you like, but often you find yourself disappointed because there isn’t even one that truly reflects your experience.

Luna Park, Sydney,Aus ©Keith Barnes

Luna Park, Sydney,Aus ©Keith Barnes

Kim Manley Ort says But what if you could take a different approach to your photography? One where you make fewer and also perhaps better photos? I’ve found that the simple practice of pausing before clicking the shutter can make a huge difference in the quantity and quality of your photographic output and enjoyment…..read more here

Peacock tail ©Keith Barnes

Peacock tail ©Keith Barnes

Pausing is the practice of checking in with oneself. When something stops you and you want to make a photograph, take a moment to notice what’s happening and ask yourself a few questions.

  • What do I see, smell, and hear?
  • What stopped me?
  • Was it a colour, shape, or texture?
  • What am I feeling? What do I like about it and why?
  • Does it mirror something going on in my life at this moment?

If this sounds like navel-gazing to you, believe me, it’s not. Many photographers over the years have said that a photograph says something about the creator. Your choice of subject matter reveals a lot about you. By becoming more aware of why you photograph what you do, you will gradually uncover your photographic vision…..read on

 

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