5 Ways to Fall in Love with Photography Again

Apr 27 2010

Lisa with SF Heart in Union Square

I’m back from a quick trip to San Francisco. Although I brought my 5DMKII, I actually spent most of my time shooting with my iPhone. I found myself really enjoying snapping hundreds of pictures with wild abandon, shooting things I would have never “wasted” shots on with my 5DMKII.

This experience was a valuable reminder of what I love about photography: The act of taking pictures. The sheer joy of capturing a moment is such a powerful feeling as a photographer and one that I’ve been missing in recent months.


Team Cheer at the SF Heart, Union Square, SF.

I find that many photographers, especially the perfectionists among us, feel a huge pressure when it comes to their photography. Gaining good editing and photoshop skills, as well as pushing yourself creatively is an important part of becoming a better photographer, but when you start feeling perpetually unsatisfied with every picture you take, you start to lose the passion and love for the thing you love to do.

I’ve noticed this with my attitude towards my own photography, so I thought I’d share some tips to help you generate a little bit of heat between you and your camera.

1. Fill up your memory card.

Union Square, SF, iPhone.

Never limit the number of shots you take based on digital space, just line your pockets with memory cards :) Memory is cheap. Buy plenty of memory cards and don’t be scared of filling up your cards. I carry 2x8GB, 2x4GB, & 2x2GB CFs plus 2x8GB SD cards for my P&S with me all the time.



Market & Montgomery, iPhone.

I’ve had photo shoots with models where I didn’t get a great shot until Shot 100 after one hour of shooting. Think about professional fashion photographers who snap-snap-snap 10s of pictures a second. If you don’t get the shot the first try, keep shooting until you do.

2. Don’t edit in camera

*Flight*Robson & Howe, Vancouver, iPhone.

You may think that keeping those 50 shots of blurry pigeons flying into the blue sky, but you never know what you are going to get with a photo until you see it on your computer screen. The LCD screens on your camera/iPhone is extremely deceptive and can not be trusted out in the field, especially on a sunny day.

Some photographers swear on editing shots in camera, but I disagree. You can always dump the unusable shots during your first editing pass on your computer. So, keep those shots, even the overexposed, blurry ones, you might just have the next famous, award-winning blurry pigeon shot sitting on your CF card.

3. Share your photos

Pete Cashmore catching a cab on Market St., iPhone.

Never feel embarrassed to share your shots with others because you don’t think they are “good enough”. We are all at differing levels of ability from a day old shutterbug to Annie Leibovitz. And let’s face it, not every shot is destined for the front page of Vogue, so cut yourself some slack and don’t get caught up in negative feedback.


Powell & Market Trolly! Ding ding.

Criticism is never easy to take, especially with something as personal as photography, but learning from our mistakes is how we grow as photographers. By not sharing your photos you are not only preventing yourself from growing, but also shutting yourself off from receiving praise and encouragement from others.

Networking with other photographers is one of the most motivating things you can do. So, put yourself out there a little and post a photo on your Facebook. It’s as easy as one, two, Zukerberg…

4. Don’t miss a photo-op.

Golden Gate Bridge, iPhone shot from plane.

The world has an annoying habit of producing amazing photo-ops at the exact moments when you don’t have a camera on you. I’ve learnt this the hard way by missing many magical moments: A double rainbow over a field of hay bales in the south of England, a golden magic hour backlit shot of wild Pronghorn antelopes in Jackson hole, Wyoming, and a perfect sliver of light shining between two glassy high-rises in downtown Vancouver illuminating a beautiful woman carrying a red umbrella. *sigh* Having learnt this painful mistake numerous times, I now carry a camera with me where ever I go and often, in the palm of my hand.

It may annoy your friends more often then not and you will probably hear this phrase a few times: “Why do you take so many pictures all the time?” and possibly,“What’s so interesting about about that drain grate anyway?” But you’re a photographer, that’s who you are, so keep that camera close and capture as many moments as you can. You never know when that double rainbow is going to spring up.

5. Photograph what you love


Pete on the flight home, iPhone.

I love photographing people. I’ve explored all kinds of photography from landscapes to macros to wildlife to sports and I find that I’m just more passionate about photographing people. Even when I’m out shooting street photography I try to sneak candid shots of people.

I find that photographers that focus on one particular area of photography and building a portfolio of work in that area, tend to develop a more cohesive style. Plus, they are happy because they are photographing what they love to shoot. You’ll never find a more unhappy photographer than a passionate sports photographer shooting weddings. “Can we have a replay on the bouquet toss? This time really give it some air”.

Now it’s your turn. Make me a promise that you’ll fall in love with your photography again! Happy snapping & share your shots in the comments below :)

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46 Responses to “5 Ways to Fall in Love with Photography Again”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Steven Galea, Photo Addicts. Photo Addicts said: 5 Ways to Fall in Love with Photography Again: How to create some heat between you and your camera. http://bit.ly/aMqsqt [...]

  2. Thanks for this post.

  3. Hello Lisa and thanks for your Tips. I have two questions.
    1. What app have you used for the iphone shots? A special app or did you edit them afterwards at the MAC?
    2. What about a Blogpost about cleaning your camera. At the moment i have some problems with dust. If you change the Lenses a lot there always will be dust. How do you clean your Sensor?

    Thanks

  4. btw Great Shots. #2 Looks tonemapped. photomatix? Ilike the sky . e.g. http://twitpic.com/1gnyk3

  5. I agree, fill up those memory cards! Here’s a shot of my son Noah that reminds me of what you are talking about. It can be criticized because he’s not looking at the camera, yet somehow it’s more powerful this way.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/robterry/4557955010/

  6. It’s true, without a camera on hand you lose so many chances. A good smart phone camera is advantageous as it’s almost certainly with you always.

  7. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by photoaddicts: 5 Ways to Fall in Love with Photography Again: How to create some heat between you and your camera. http://bit.ly/aMqsqt

  8. Very nice post, this is just what I needed

    thank you

    Clay

  9. Awsome advice! Thank-you.

  10. Awsome advice! Thank-you

  11. Thank you! This post has perfect timing. I’m currently gearing up for a trip to Yellowstone and have become a bit disenchanted by all the pro wildlife photography out there. This post will help me remember why I like photography. I need to shoot for my personal enjoyment and stop trying so hard to get the “perfect” shot. I need to care less about the blurry, underexposed garbage that happens once in a while and remember that I saw the animal do something interesting.

  12. What a great article. It’s been raining for 2 days here, but I’ve got a waterproof(ish) Olympus 560 I take kayaking with me. I think I’ll just take it and go play in some puddles and see what I can get a picture or two of.

  13. oh, I felt a huge hold back on a recent trip with friends. They were so rude… didn’t want me to stop and take pictures. And it was not like I was taking lots long exposure shots, I was just taking two or three snapshots of the scenery. So up setting…

    Funny thing is that I never said anything about them talking about law all the time when we go out, which is a whole new level of boring for those who are not into it.

  14. Great post Lisa, i agree with all your points.

    I guess one of the things that really makes me want to go out and take more pictures is when i stumble across my own favorite pics, regardless if they’re good or bad, the feeling of “how lucky i was” “How happy i felt when i saw the pic on my computer” or just what it took to get that shot. I think is comparable to an adrenaline rush, you want more!

    Here’s one of my favorite pics. This lady really made my day and when i saw the pic on my computer it really made me happy after a very intense and sad day.

    http://claudiouribe.com/2009/08/26/tsunami-lady/

  15. Excellent post Lisa, with some great points and ideas. Your Hipstamatic photos are great too. I’ve been addicted to that app lately. I used it extensively while doing urban exploration in Detroit on the weekend. The subject matter seemed appropriate.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/motionblur/sets/72157623808832987/

  16. Hi Lisa,

    Great post ! And great pics !
    more and more I agree with you and with another great photogs ( Chase Jarvis ) : The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You !

    By the way : it seems that you’ve enjoyed SF like I did a couple of weeks ago : this is just a photogs paradise !

  17. Brilliant post Lisa with some reall good shots… This has hit home for me in a big way as i have been felling a little dejected about my photography of late. I fact I think i will book mark this aticle to read again.

    Rick

  18. Great images. Similarly l would love to know your iPhone photo app

  19. I will thinking about it every day!

  20. Sharing is caring. Take more pics, show more people.

  21. Great article, i sat in a starbucks today just taking candid portraits with a borrowed 5d. I forgot what a joy it is just to take photos with no pressure. I may do this at least once a week.

  22. So nice and useful advices i read !! i promise to fall in love again thnx 2 U ))

  23. Getting a new camera doesn’t hurt either…a feeling I hope to experience very, very soon when I get enough 7D money scraped together!

    I have two toddlers and want to get ‘em little kiddie cameras this summer to see what they come up with. Having kids allows me to see life as a little boy again, and I think I get a unique perspective as a result of waiting until 35 to have kids.

    Cf

  24. [...] out this mostly fabulous aricle: 5 Ways to Fall in Love with Photography Again! Now that’s [...]

  25. [...] out this mostly fabulous aricle: 5 Ways to Fall in Love with Photography Again! Now that’s [...]

  26. [...] 5 Ways to Fall in Love with Photography Again – “The sheer joy of capturing a moment is such a powerful feeling…” [...]

  27. My last blog relates, in part, to your tip #5. Great advice, IMO. A friend of mine keeps bugging me to decide whether I can shoot a wedding with her in October, but I’m having a hard time committing to it (even though I will get paid for the wedding) until I find out whether or not it conflicts with any skating events (for which I generally do not get paid).

  28. I’m guessing that the app Lisa uses is the Hipstamatic 150 – am I right, Lisa? It’s the most amazing app that there is on the iPhone.

    There’s a great assortment of film types, lenses and flash guns that you can use to change the look of even the most mundane scene. But the best bit is that if you shake the phone before you shoot, it randomises all the settings. I do that, take one pic, then walk away. If the pic doesn’t work, then it wasn’t meant to be.

    And then I discovered Swankolab, by the same company! It’s an actual digital darkroom – you actually have to mix chemicals in a tray and shake the phone to develop the pic! It’s the most amazing waste of time ever, you’ll wonder where your life has gone :)

  29. Thanks for the inspiration.

  30. You’re missing another very obvious point… travel :D

  31. Great article!
    I have been feeing a little bit frustrated because I have not been happy with my shots lately maybe because I sometimes pressure myself too much. But after reading this I will definitely look at it from a different perspective… because after all, photography is my passion and I want to enjoy it while doing it :)
    I also like taking pictures of people the most. After focusing in other things, i realized that snapping photos of friends or even random people in streets, bars, etc is what motivates me to keep doing it…. i just love it!
    I’m adding the link to my “People” set from flickr… (would love to have some feedback from anyone!)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/veronikaa/sets/72157622606504391/

  32. Nice coming across someone who understands the sheer joy of creating something for the sake of fun. Nice read :)

  33. Thanks for the tips. #2 is most important for me. As a visually-impaired person, I can never judge any images until I enlarge them on my computer screen. The tiny image on the LCD screen always looks awful to me. If I judged by those images, I would get rid of everything and miss all the joy of discovery when I upload. I am also learning to carry my camera. You are right about missing wonderful opportuniies whenever it is left behind.

  34. Great article. Something I really enjoy now with digital cameras is to take as many shots as possible. This gives everyone the option to work like a pro and pick those 10 great ones from a set of 200 plus.

  35. Well said and you mirror my thoughts exactly. I shot 186 photos with my 30D today (ordering 5DII next week) of a sail boat race. After editing, had 21 good photos not counting 2 iPhone photos posted to FB from the beach.

  36. Oops! Forgot the url.

  37. I LOVE tip #4! I’m no photographer, it’s just something I’ve recently started as a hobby. I had one stroke of luck a few years ago, walking along a beach at sunset showing off the glory that is northern California’s coastline, that I had a camera on me. I took many, in my opinion, breath-taking pictures that my mother now memorializes all over her house. Couldn’t agree more!

    Just because you’re right, networking is an awesome way to grow…
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/celestialmajique/

  38. This article was perfectly timed for me, I’ve found myself in this situation lately. Thank you for renewing my passion!

  39. Thank you Lisa for your advise. This weekend is the first time I have picked my camera in over a month. I’ve used excuses like “I’m too busy, too tired, too stressed, too…”, but in the end I just need to remember how excited I get when I get that great shot. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

  40. [...] week or two ago, after reading a very helpful blog post by Lisa Bettany (I LOVE her photography; check her website out), I managed to get back into the [...]

  41. [...] 5 Ways to Fall in Love with Photography Again Mostly Lisa [...]

  42. [...] 5 Ways to Fall in Love With Photography Again [...]

  43. i’d fall in love if i got to take pictures of Pete Cashmore :P what is your secret girl????

  44. [...] you’ve probably noticed a lot of iPhone shots pop up recently from my trips to New York and San Francisco. Now I can finally share the amazing app that created all those cool FXs, Camera+ [...]

  45. [...] you’ve probably noticed a lot of iPhone shots pop up recently from my trips to New York and San Francisco. Now I can finally share the amazing app that created all those cool [...]

  46. [...] it’s just so routine that my brain feels like it’s literally melting. But then I read this article from MostlyLisa, an adorable Canadian blogger who I really feel like I relate to in many ways. In her article, [...]

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