Create experiences to create photos

Whether you're an experienced photographer or are just stepping into the world of photography, the thrill of capturing the perfect moment never fades.
Regardless of the kind of photography you prefer, I'm pretty sure you've felt the excitement while seeing a perfect scene with the perfect lighting in front of you that's just waiting to be captured.

And we've all been there-you're planning a trip with your favorite people or you're finally attending an event you have been waiting for a very long time and the only thing you can think about is how to capture at least a couple of great photos with your camera.
When you stop and think about it for a while, have you ever noticed how many times you've missed the important moments in your life because you've put too much energy and focus on getting the right shot? The question is how to find a balance between keeping your social life alive and not missing the perfect moment for capturing a photo.

Experience first - capture the photo later

Every photographer who takes this profession (or hobby) seriously is aware of the fact that photography is much more than just pausing a moment in time. The story, feeling, and experience make it unique. Yet, many photographers are still thinking more about the lighting than about telling the story behind the photo.

"A picture is worth a thousand words" is not just a popular old phrase but is actually the core truth when it comes to the art of photography. Once you realize that if you're not in alignment with yourself and the people around you, it will have a huge impact on your photos. It's just like with any other job or hobby in life - if you're putting too much effort into getting everything perfectly done, it's more likely it will not turn out as you've imagined.

How many times have you been in the situation where the people you are usually spending time with are complaining because you're never present in the given moment and they get frustrated while standing by the side until you get your photos done?

Of course, the people who support and love you should also support and love your passion as well, but let's be real, no one wants to travel around the world or share any important moments in life with someone who is never completely there. Taking a few shots while you're on your way is fine, but having someone standing behind you and waiting for you for hours is a completely different thing.

Imagine someone told you that you need to take your partner, friend or a family member to your office and they'll have to wait there for hours until you get your job done. You would immediately know that it doesn't make any sense and you would be able to draw a fine line between your business and social life, as none of both sides should suffer or stay neglected because of the other.

If you would be thinking about your office job all the time and feeling anxious about it while spending time with others, you would definitely notice that something is not quite right. The same goes for photography - if you're constantly under pressure until you get the right photo done, it should be a warning alarm that some things need to be changed. Photography is a big part of you and will always be, but you need to find a way to make your camera serve you and not to have it the other way around.

How to commit to photography and the people around you at the same time?

The important thing is to be prepared and to realize when your usual behavior and patterns take over. If you're having a vacation, or are simply walking around and you notice the stuff you want to capture, share it with the people around you without taking your camera out right away.

Take the time to enjoy the moment and revisit the area once you get the chance. This method will definitely give you more benefits than you may think and will take your relationships and your photos to a new level.

The first advantage is that, once you share such moments with your people, it will give you more space to look at the place or interesting detail you want to shoot from a completely different angle. Maybe the person who you were sharing the moment with will discover or see something interesting which you have overseen or missed. You can look at it as a brainstorming technique and use it as a very powerful tool which will give you the opportunity to make the most of your photos once you come back to capture them.

Another great thing about this method is that you'll finally be able to experience the moment fully, without being worried or occupied about getting your photos done.
The people around you will appreciate your new behavior as well, as you are involving them in your art by asking them about their opinion. In this way, you will dedicate your time and energy and pour your soul into your work, without jeopardizing your personal life and relationships.

Have a plan

Have a plan and make a list of shots you want to get. It doesn't have to be a physical list, it can just be a mental list that you can use as a reminder of the things that seem important for the session. If you're having a hard time remembering stuff and don't like to carry a notebook with you all the time, you can always write short notes on your phone. It will make you feel more confident about coming back to the area for the shooting and will help you de-stress before you get there.

You should also make sure to have at least an idea of the area in your mind and how it could look or behave in another period of the day or night.
You'll be positively surprised when you realize that a lot of times, coming back and not worrying about the photo at the exact moment when you saw something interesting, often makes the photos even better, as you're completely focused, present and relaxed.

If you're on your vacation and you know that the people that you're traveling with like to sleep longer, you can head out and have your photos before anyone even realizes you're gone. It will also give you a great opportunity to use the rest of your day without constantly thinking and planning how to get back there as soon as possible.

Remember that the whole point of having a plan is to recognize your behavior patterns on time, so you could start to control them before they start to control you. And having a plan (or at least some mental notes) makes the whole process a lot easier. It will probably be difficult in the beginning and you'll feel the urge to leave everything behind, but as with any other change in life, it will get better after some time and practice.

Once you figure it out and finally take off the pressure of having to be ready all the time, you'll be glad you decided to take the risk of missing an opportunity for a new photo every now and then.

Relax, recharge, reflect

Being completely relaxed is easier said than done. And missing a shot that will never return hurts. The important thing you need to remember is that you always have a choice - either to replay the moment over and over again and feel anxious about it, or you can start thinking of it as an opportunity and a better chance for the next one.

The truth is, you'll never know when the next opportunity for a great photo will appear and there's also a chance you'll sometimes miss it, but just like with other things in life, if something didn't work out as planned, you can always make sure to make something even better happen.

Operating your camera, controlling the light, and mastering your lenses is just a part of being a photographer. If taking photos is an extremely important part of your life, you need to find a way to make the whole experience less stressful and more fulfilling. Living your life through your lens is amazing, but living your life only through it and missing the world around you is something that you won't be able to take back. Your pictures are a reflection of your state of mind.

You can't always wait for the perfect landscape or moment to start shooting, you have to find beauty around you. And it's always there. The only question is have you only been stressing about it or have you actually been looking for it?. And when your photography journey finally starts with passion and excitement rather than concern, your credibility will shine through and connect with people. And that's kinda the whole point, isn't it?


Derek Wolf
Ⓒ copyright Derek Wolf 2020, all rights reserved.