Make photography a separate world.
Patience comes with preparation.
Maintain control of exposure settings.
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Beginner and hobbyist photographers are known to spend a considerable amount of time and energy trying to determine the difference between their photos and professional-quality images. They often focus on the equipment or being driven by the opportunity to make money; but in many instances, these are not as important as learning the skill of patience.
Some people seem to be born impatient, but, in our modern world, it’s more likely our culture of instant gratification (falsely created by the media in most cases) that has caused many people to be unwilling to wait and allow an opportunity to develop. This phenomenon is certainly applicable to photography, and is the creative tool professionals understand, but is often lacking from the approach of the amateur.
Except in the controlled environment of the studio (and often not even there) can the photographer “force” the action, the occurrence of an event or dictate when the photograph he or she wants becomes available. Most of the best photographs, with photojournalism as the most extreme example, come when they come; and the photographer who wants to capture those high-quality images must be willing to wait for all the elements to combine perfectly before releasing the shutter.
How often have you, as an amateur, or during your observations of other amateur photographers, started snapping pictures as soon as you reached a destination or a location where you hoped to capture outstanding photos? It’s a common practice and immediately reveals who is the amateur and who is the pro.
You can reverse this tendency with some practical tips and a bit of work on your mindset, and this PhotographyTalk article presents a few for your consideration.
Impatience may rule the rest of your life, and it may be difficult to be patient in a competitive world that demands instant action and results, but try to develop a different mindset during your photography sessions. Learn how to evoke some inner calmness and make photography an exercise in patience. Slow your mind and take the time to be observant and become part of the scene or subject you want to photograph.
When you select a location to photograph, spend some quality time visiting it prior to your actual photo session. You may even want to leave your camera at home or in your bag. Simply watch what happens during a substantial amount of time, and possibly take a few notes. For example, you want to capture the beauty of a particular natural scene. Knowing what occurs there during certain times of the day will allow you to schedule your shoot at the most advantageous moments. Wildlife is more likely to become part of your images if you shoot during the early morning and late afternoon. The light is also typically better during those “magic hours” of the day.
Advanced scouting will also help you determine exactly what equipment you need, so you aren’t burdening yourself with unnecessary gear, or discovering you didn’t bring an essential piece of equipment.
Photographic patience doesn’t mean you must be miserable as you wait for the right moments. Scouting your targeted location will also help you wear the right clothing for the weather, a hat and sunblock to protect your from UV rays, plenty of water and maybe even a campstool. Just because you’re prepared doesn't mean the action or light will be exactly what you want as soon as you setup your equipment. Part of your gear selection should include a tripod, so you don’t have to hold your camera in a ready position for hours.
A good reason to bring your camera during your location scouting is to make some test meter readings, so you have some idea what exposure settings will be best during your shoot. Then, when you do set up your gear, shoot in the M, or manual, mode, so you maintain control of exposure instead of your camera.
Don’t be so focused on your advanced planning that you fail to be flexible if conditions change. Patience isn’t just waiting for the images you’ve envisioned, but also being willing to wait for surprises. For example, that late afternoon period may offer the best light or the possibility of wildlife for your nature photos, but it may also be advantageous to remain patient and stay at that location into twilight. A whole new palette of images may present themselves after the sun is below the horizon, but is still lighting the sky and the scene.
You may discover that developing a patient approach to your photography has a positive effect on the rest of your life, allowing you to practice patience and enjoying more of what life has to offer.
Image credit: pavelk / 123RF Stock Photo
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