Nowadays, the technology built into our modern cameras make them very capable of producing truly astounding results. Coupled with post processing software such as Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop or Capture One, our creations are often only limited by our imaginations.
However, it’s all too easy to rely on software and hardware to give our images that final polish … to attain that ‘technical perfection’ that has become some kind of hallmark of photography over the last few years.
So we need to wind the clock back a little and return to what we intended when we bought our first camera. The excitement of exploration, of experimentation, of just pointing the camera and seeing.
And you can do that quite easily, by removing the technical mumbo jumbo. Let’s go back to what it was like when we got our first camera and felt the urge to shoot everything in sight – just for the fun of it – unhindered by f-stops and apertures.
Lets get started
Today, that camera happened to be my Macbook. But how big is that little camera at the top of the screen and what resolution photos will it produce? The answer is, who cares? It’s a camera – you can point it at things and it will take a picture – that’s good enough for me.
So I started up Photo Booth. Now, you can do a lot of goofy things with Photo Booth, like warping your face and applying different distortions and filters. I choose the Plastic Camera effect and took a few pictures in the back garden.
We’re not looking at high end stuff here. File sizes will average about 150-200Kb, sharpness is kinda crap and they will be plenty of noise – especially when using one of the filters. But you may be surprised by what you capture and the fun you have doing it. None of these photos are edited – they are all as shot, straight from the ‘camera’.
Let’s get the nonsense out of the way first – the obligatory selfie – looking to the skies for inspiration. 🙂 and then get on the the real ‘photography’.
There is no right or wrong – there simply is. Shooting with a camera like this removes the technical ingredients and leaves just you and the scene – free to interpret whatever way you want. You are forced to think about the aesthetics of the photo – about what you are actually looking at.
When you do return to your regular Dslr camera, this will be a valuable lesson.
Take a series of photos. Make sure they are related to each other and tie them together with the same filter.
Don’t confine yourself to the same orientation. Ordinary everyday objects take on a new meaning when viewed from a different perspective. One of the biggest challenges we face as photographers is the ability to step outside our ‘normal’ view of the world.
Photography isn’t always real and in our personal work, we should not be overly concerned with portraying it as such.
Keep colour schemes and silhouetted shapes within the same family and you can mix and match both soft and hard lines and surfaces. A low down viewpoint gives dominance and importance to your subject.
Garden furniture takes on alien shapes. Shooting from a different angle confuses scale and distance. Hard lines and soft textures meet and create harmony within the scene. Composition, while important is not over powering.
I hope this very short post has given you some food for thought. Our personal photography is about what we see and the way we interpret that. It is not about the numbers and the rules. Yes, these are important but only to a point and we should take care that our photography does not turn into a colour by numbers exercise.
Time and space must be made for seeing, interpreting, creating and for personal expression. You can help to do this by removing the numbers and the rules. All of us sees so much imagery nowadays that the way things are ‘supposed’ to look is hard-coded within us. We are seeing life, the world around us and experiences as photographs – as other peoples photographs – as other peoples interpretation of their scene.
If you pay attention to what you are actually looking at, then you may come to see the scene for yourself and be able to produce your interpretation of it. I teach this on my workshops. You can find out more about upcoming workshops here.
Thanks for reading this far and feel free to comment, ask or share.
Think left and think right and think low and think high.
Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try! – Dr. Seuss