Good Photography Tips I Always Forget. So Here's My Tip: Don't Forget These.

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chloe beach baja 001The camera, no matter if it's a big honker or a little point-n-shoot, seems to get in the way of progress sometimes.

Here's what I mean.  "Oh, my camera sucks" many a P&S owner has said.  And those of us with DLSRs the size of pool tables fall into the trap of spending long moments thinking about, and adjusting, the exposure, the white balance, the bracketing, the changing of lenses, the discussion about filters, and so on. Sure, there's a time and a place for all of those things, but the camera has a way of saying, "I'm in charge. Bow down. Bow down."

Both of these have a way of making me - and maybe you - fail to pick up the camera when there's a nice shot asking to be burned into a CF card.

So, there are a couple of good nuggets of photo advice I've heard, and ignored, over the years. Not because they're too technical, but because they're too obvious.  And sensible. Here are two of them.

1. Just shoot

Grab the camera and just do it. Stupidly simple?

I don't think so.

I've had numerous times in which I just didn't feel like getting the camera out, even though the voice in my head said it'd be a good idea.  Several times it was because I was playing with my daughter in the backyard or something like that. Some sort of "Nah, let's just whack this wiffle ball for a while" won the battle. But when I look back at this one from one of those backyard play sessions, I'm glad I listened to the voice in my head and grabbed my camera. Good memory.

2. Get Playful

On the camera side, that means virtually anything to show fun. Laying down on the ground and shooting up, or tilting the horizon, or cutting half of the subject off the frame. Or whatever.  But pointing and clicking the scene doesn't always cut it. Some years ago, National Geographic Adventure ran a photo by Jeff Pflueger (Road Trip: Ballad of Route 89) that resonates with me for this exact piece of advice. The shooter used a fisheye lens, put his camera on a monopod, and then extended it out the sun roof of the vehicle to shoot straight down as he and a buddy bombed down the highway and they grinned at the camera.  Playful.  Perfect.

Then there are the models.  In my case they tend to be my daughter and my wife, which makes me a hated dude. But when we're, say, next to a tree and a canyon I should say, "Hey, peek around the trunk and look surprised."  Or something.  Just something. I'm bad at this. So, I urge you not to be. And I'll try harder. Deal?

kofa arizona 2009-004

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