People often ask me about what equipment I use and how much it all costs.
My reply is always the same: The best, and most precious, two bits of photo gear I will ever possess are my eyes. It’s here where the whole process begins.
If you can’t ‘see’ an image before you pick up the camera then no amount of money or expensive gear will get you that special shot.
When you’re on a shoot you should spend a good proportion of your time just looking at what’s there, getting to know the surroundings and checking out the light, angles, viewpoints, etc. This should all be done before you even open your camera bag.
I’m sometimes guilty of doing the naff film director thing and framing with my hands. I know, it’s sad, but I try to make sure no-one’s watching and I don’t do it very often. It can help you to visualise though. No, really!
Are you a Shotgun?
Anyway, enough of that. The point I’m trying to make is that you should have an idea of the image you want long before you start to worry about how you’re going to get it. Too many people start shooting away and then hoping there’ll be that special shot in there somewhere. It’s a sort of a shotgun effect, fire enough off and you’re bound to hit something eventually.
Or a Sniper?
I’m more of a sniper, I scope out the situation first and zoom in on what I’m looking for. (Sorry, I’m getting a bit carried away with the metaphors!) I suppose it’s a rub-off from the days of film when materials and processing costs were a big consideration.
Digital makes it so easy to keep shooting, and sometimes that’s not necessarily a good thing. It dilutes the importance of using your eyes and brain to visualise the end result.
So the next time you’re out and about, leave the gear in its bag for a while and just have a good look at and around your subject. Use your two most precious assets and forget about the camera.
It’s people and their imaginations that make great pictures, not expensive camera gear.