Shooting JPG

For my entire photographic life (mostly) I’ve shot RAW files. Certainly when shooting for someone else I’ve always done it – I get more data, more colour, more of pretty much everything, which allowed a degree of laxity when it comes to the edit….

Lately (having just got a new camera a couple of months ago) I decided to try just shooting the JPG files. “It doesn’t matter if the files don’t turn out well”, I thought – let’s just play with the film simulation presets built in.

Turns out, it was a heap more fun than I ever thought it would be.

“Yes yes, I know I can alter the simulations in post, if I shoot RAW”… but that’s not the point. The point is, that it’s ‘FUN’, and I think sometimes we get bogged down so much in the intricacies of photography, that we forget it’s a hobby that we are supposed to be actually having a good time with.

Let’s try not to let the ‘rules’ get in the way…. Sometimes we have to follow them, we have to do what the competition organisers dictate – most times though we don’t…. and that’s when the real fun starts…..

At least that’s what I think….. Frankly, you can’t tell that the picture below is a JPG can you? No…… I thought not….

The ‘Bravo’ Image

I’ve recently been reading an article on photography and creativity, and what we do with it.  It mentioned a photographer called Stewart Harvey, and his brother who created the original ‘burning man’.  In the article Stewart talked about motivations in his photography.

He discusses photographic projects, and how long they can take.

“It took a long time before I (Stewart Harvey) could get out of my own way as a photographer..”  This phrase hit me on so many levels, because we tend to think that photography is all about us.. he goes on to say….

“We’re trying to put together an image that we can put in front of people so they can say ‘bravo’ – but until you get past that point, until you realise that photography is about something or someone else, do you start to get into the realm of doing photography that someone else is going to care about, because in the long run, the only person that ever cared about the photography of you and me was us, and in order for other people to care, your photography has to be about something that’s relevant – and relevancy isn’t just the world of art”.

Taking this analogy a bit further, I spent some time considering the things I say when I judge photographic competitions, and what other judges say in turn.  

We need to consider what makes a person ‘get’ your photograph and makes them love it.  Honestly it’s not the photograph itself, that’s just a part.  It’s actually the state of mind of the judge / viewer at the time.  

I often say at the end of an evening that the winning picture is honestly a good one, from my point of view – the truth is that on a different evening, or a different time of day, or a different mood, a different picture might come out on top.  

Only a couple of nights ago, I listened to a highly respected judge who had been looking at the pictures entered for a few days in advance.  They had been marked early, but a comment was made half way through “I’ve marked these, but frankly I’m changing the marks as I work through this evening.”

Were the winning images the ‘bravo’ photographs, or did they send a message to the judge who had to offer comments and scores on the night?  I ask this even though one of the comments was “the photographer was very brave to enter this one….”

Go Your Own Way

Do what you think is right…. go your own way……. forge your own path……. Look at what is in front on you, right now….. and shoot it……..


Spend too much time worrying about what other people think, and you won’t do it…. be instinctive, be brave. Shoot what you see…..

It’s about waiting sometimes to see what will happen, and then changing your attitude to fit the scene. Not the other way round.