Have your camera ready, but don’t always have it at the ready. Candid photography is finding the equilibrium between enjoying the moment and capturing fractions of it. Don’t keep your camera in focus because you won’t see the entire scene. Focus your attention on the moment. Then you should focus your camera.
Pictures might allow us to see fractions of memories in color, but it’s better to have it memorized in color.
The photograph begins to lose its purpose as you are distracted by your camera. A photograph consists of two defining halves: an image and a memory. For someone who did not experience the event, the photograph only serves half of its purpose. A photograph should serve as the materialization of a memory: seeing the photograph will lead you to recall the memory. For those who experienced the event, the photograph becomes so much more than an image on glossy paper: it comes to life.
Photography is taking your subject and placing them in the perfect setting. The ideal setting is fluid; it changes with each subject and should reflect its personality.
My crazy sister’s body and mind don’t agree; she is a winter person trapped by her affection for summer activities. Thankfully, El Niño has gifted us with such a mild winter that she has not come down with cabin fever. Even with the surplus of spring-like weather, she refuses to keep her true personality cooped up by frigid temperatures and a few inches of snow.
Don’t let the weather define your shoot. Your subject should be the foundation for every single photograph you take. Do something that is counter-intuitive. Morph several aspects of their personality. Your subject isn’t static, and a cookie-cutter picture isn’t enough to do justice for the amazing person they are.
Photography isn’t just about your camera settings, the subject, or your angle, you have to look for what your photographs can become. Simply omitting some elements of your photograph can add drama, change the focus, magnify the subject, and let you tell a different story. Photos can be transformed from the regular aspect of your camera into another in such a way that those viewing your work are given a different perspective.
Take my header image as an example: During our grueling bus ride from Wales to Edinburgh, Scotland, we were given several rest stops. One such stop happened at an old stone bridge. I saw the mountains and the river and thought to myself, “Self, this would make a great picture.” I snapped a few shots, took some deep breaths of fresh air and boarded the bus. Months later I was attempting to find a suitable header image and happened across my rest-stop quick shot. I played around with it and cropped it into the image I have now.
The foreground took away from the dramatic presence of the mountains. Although the river provided a sense of where I was, the cropped image highlighted the scenery. I was able to eliminate the competition between the river and the mountains so that your attention would be drawn into their majestic slopes. The river is still part of the photograph’s story, but the main characters, the mountains, become the uncontested focal point.
Before my healthy photography obsession began, I always viewed people utilizing their hands to frame prospective shots as those creative people that just wanted to flaunt their creativeness. Now, my hands are an invaluable tool in the moments leading up to capturing the photo.
Even if you think you look goofy, just remember that you are going to get some awesome photos and everyone who thinks you look silly is missing out on some great pictures!
Don’t try to tame your subjects when posing them. Try as you might, it won’t always work out too well. Get them in the right position and see where they go from there. Your favorite picture doesn’t have to be the one you planned out perfectly.
Wait for the good moments. Those moments that seem to happen by chance or Providence when you keep your finger on the shutter release with a prayer. This is one of those moments. Don’t cease taking pictures when you see the chance for a great photograph. Keep learning how to adjust your camera for different settings and seek the weird angles. You never know when all of these factors will combine.