Welcome to Tyler’s Tips. Today I’m going to talk about how sometimes the best thing you can do for your photography is actually put the camera down.
Who’s had this experience? You see something amazing: a child running through a field, a rainbow with a sunset, maybe a child running under a rainbow and a sunset. Wow. Oh, my God. Bust out the camera. Click a photo. Done.
Then you’re headed home. You’re driving, hopefully somebody else is driving, or you’re sitting on the couch, and you’re like, “I’m going to post that sucker.” Then you go on there and you look at Facebook and you get ready to put this photo up, and you look at it, and you’re like, “Oh, God. It didn’t feel like that at all when I was there.” I’ve had that experience many times.
Now this trick I’m going to tell you is going to help reduce the number of times that happens. So, you’ll notice how I said, “It didn’t feel like that.” One of the toughest things about photography is that in the real world, we see and we experience all these things, and then we feel something.
And photography that works is like taking that and squishing it into a little rectangle and showing it to somebody else, and it works. They feel what you felt. It’s magic. I absolutely love that about photography. It’s also really hard to do because what we tend to want to do is we see it, and we feel it, and we’re like, “Oh, my gosh.” And then we start shooting away like Yosemite Sam, and it doesn’t actually work.
What works is taking a second and stopping, and when you feel that, what you do is you put the camera down, or you even resist the urge to pull the camera out of your pocket, and take a second and say, “Wow. What is that that’s so powerful?” And you can do this really fast once you get good at it. But why do I want to take this picture? What’s cool about it? What am I feeling? And how can I share that feeling with somebody else?
What this is is a very simple, fundamental building block of creating a story. If we know what it is that we feel and what we want somebody else to feel, that’s the beginnings of our story. And then we know what our story is. We can figure that out. Then we can make decisions about how we’re going to shoot that photo. “Oh, maybe it’d be better if I stand over here. Or maybe if I ask this person to do this over there with the light in a different place. Or maybe I should move that car that’s bright pink out of the background of my photo before I take it because that’s going to be really annoying, now that I think about it, when I try to post that sucker.”
Anyways, these are all the things that will come to your mind quickly and very obviously if you can stop and think for a second. So, there is my tip for the day. Take a second before you shoot, and think about, “What does it feel like and how can I create a photo that’s going to help communicate that feeling to somebody else?”