New Approach to Photography

Photographers, creatives, and artists tend to be ADHD prone. I’m not making this up; Psychology Today lists studies which have suggested the same. This is has certainly been my experience, at least when it comes to photography.

In past I have photographed various subjects in the outdoor world, and often with various techniques. I’ve gone from shooting at nights and then shooting at the sea the next morning. There is nothing inherently wrong with doing this, but in my experience this approach can result in a disjointed portfolio which lacks coherence and unity.

When you are an amateur photographer who does not have any clients dictating what to shoot, and how to shoot it, it is very easy to lose focus and end up in a position where you have photographed little of everything and plenty of nothing. This is fine if you are shooting as a hobby, and not much else. But if you are hoping to improve, get paid work in future or just have a solid personal portfolio, I suggest shooting with more focus.

A new approach that I have now picked up is shooting personal projects. This generally happens in following steps.

Pick up a theme. Something personal and something you really want to shoot. This can be variety of things – a location that you want to shoot and how you want to shoot it. When I started on the Wild West personal project, I wanted to shoot Auckland’s west coast beaches in a manner that inspired awe and little bit of fear in viewer’s mind.

Set the scope. In other words, how will you know when you are finished? It could be something simple like, “when I have x number of final photographs”

Set the constraints. This one is important. Creativity happens within constraints; so it is crucial that you set the constraints for yourself. For example, you could decide to only use the 50mm for the whole project. This constraint will force you to think outside the box and will teach you to shoot while embracing the advantages and limitations of this lens. Set real constraints, and you will be a better photographer for it.

Photographing under this framework has been of immense use to me, and this is how I intend to do all my photography in future. From next weekend, I will be starting on a new personal project. I have few ideas in my mind, and I am currently deciding which one to go with.

What do you think of this approach to photography? Let me know in the comments section!

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