Fast Photography?

I feel the need to slow down, but it’s hard to do…….

Most times I go out to shoot, I come home, and am looking at what I’ve taken within hours. I’m starting to think (a strain for me I know), that I should try and slow things down.

When I’m actually out shooting these days, I’m one of the slowest – I’m conscious that I’m the last to finish, and sometimes people are left waiting for me.  It’s a style, and I see other photographers who can jump out of the car and get cracking straight away – and if I try to do this, I come back with images that are only fit for the digital trash.

I was talking to a friend the other week, who said that he didn’t look at anything he’d taken for at least a week.  He would download to his computer, and back up – but then leave them to ‘develop’ and come back to them later.

With hindsight (which is a wonderful thing) I can see how this works.

I’ve been looking back at images I took months ago, and have just left them to stew on the computer.  This long cooking time, can make for a better image – so rather than just delete stuff – I’m trying to hang onto it for at least two months before I make a decision.  The obvious operator errors can go straight away, but sometimes it’s good to come back to something in a different frame of mind.

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This image for example.

I took this in March of 2017, when out with some friends on an exploration of the Lincolnshire Coast.  I’d forgotten all about it, and rediscovered it, and re-processed it over the last day or two.  I think it’s something I might have easily thrown away, but with hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t.  I think it’s a peaceful shot, calm and Autumnal.  (The image by the way is the ‘Soundtower’, part of an art installation called ‘Structures on the Edge’, and can be found at Chapel Six Marshes.)

It’s always worth archiving images you are not sure about, and come back to them later.

And in the meantime, I’m going to make a serious effort to not process images as soon as I’ve taken them.  I’ll try and let them stew for a while, and look at them again, in the ‘cold light of day’ as it were.

I think that there’s a difference between just getting a ‘shot’, and experiencing the ‘getting of that shot’.  This is what I’m sometimes missing.

Do you find that you get the best images when you are chasing the shot, or when you spend time contemplating what is to come – can you anticipate when the moment is to come?

I think I learnt to ‘rush’ when I was working as an agency photographer.  I would have to wait for the event to happen, but then it was a frantic rush to get the shots, and then they had to be sent off to the agency as soon as I could.  If I was late, then another photographer would have already sent images to another agency, and I would have lost the moment.  Speed was of the essence.

Now though, I don’t need to do that any more, but it’s still ingrained in me – so I rush with post processing, like I need to get images out in a deadline.

I need to STOP, and smell the roses……

I need to make the observation come first, the photography second, and the processing slow and easy.  I shall try and adjust my approach for the future.

And now, I’m out to shoot…. hopefully I can resist the image to edit what I take today…..

Enjoy your photography.

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Author: Diane Seddon ARPS AFIAP CPAGB BPE3* - D Seddon Photography

I am a retired freelance photographer, based in Louth, Lincolnshire.

3 thoughts on “Fast Photography?”

  1. I’ve been mulling this over since I read it a few days ago. As a travel writer I am only a photographer by accident and certainly I would never describe myself as a ‘Photographer’ to anyone, but I have to produce 30 to 40 high quality photographs for each travel article I write. Sometimes I am so concerned about the weather and getting the shot I need to sum up an area that I can’t relax to enjoy a place until I think something reasonable is in the bag … but I am also aware that I need to take in a place so that I can draw a written picture for readers. I am often on a long trip of weeks or months and can take hundreds of photographs each day. I do aim to sort them and process them every day, as well as write up my notes, otherwise there are so many to do. But I do hang on to discarded photographs until the article is finished and I will check I haven’t missed something the first time round but this is all done under some time pressure! I don’t think I can change this routine but you have reminded me that my photographs would probably be better if I stopped and looked first before putting my eye behind the camera so thank you.

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  2. not sure if you will slow down that easy, I agree having a look back at some old images is very beneficial and can often turn up a little gem. But as always well written and full of interesting thoughts. Thank you

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  3. I’m afraid I’m just the same, I feel compelled to get the images onto my PC the moment I’m home. Then I like to go through them, “pruning out” the obvious failures & duplicated pics.
    I then start post processing, “just one of two” random pics “to see what I’ve got”, but before I know it I’ve done a lot more than one of two.
    I shall try leaving the pics alone for a while, see.how they “develop” (never thought I’d be using that term ever again).
    One thing I have discovered, I do my best post processing in the evening when the light’s fading outside. Not in the dark, but with a room light on to avoid screen glare (and so I can see the keyboard!). The images appear stronger to me, just my way, but it works.

    Liked by 2 people

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