Saturday, December 10, 2016

Being a spontaneous photographer

Are you a spontaneous photographer or someone who plans everything well ahead of time? A photog friend of mine, plans every shoot before she executes. And that includes sketches as how she would like the images to be, where people should be in the images etc. Isn't that fantastic? I do not call myself a creative artist per se and instead like to shoot more 'organically' while scanning my surroundings and capturing moments as they occur.

As a photographer, a mom who wants to document everything in her kids lives and as someone who loves to travel; capturing these not so perfect moments is what I love the most. Sometimes the window between capturing a sunrise after a long hike, or you could have a kid who would not stop crying if he sees a camera; whatever the reason might be; sometimes you just have to be quick on your feet with your camera.

Here are some tips for you to get started with being a 'spontaneous photographer'.

A) Have your camera with you as much as you can - Couple of years ago, I used to live in Scottsdale, Arizona. If you have lived there or are familiar with the area, you would know about the lovely hikes you can take and admire these tall desert cactuses. This image was taken during one such early morning 6 am hikes when the sun had just begun to start rising. The window between the actual sunrise time, and waiting for a scene with no people (it was a busy location) can be quite challenging. It was this moment that was right there - the sunrise causing a silhouette. At that time, I happened to have my camera with me, (which I do for most hikes) and happened to capture this image (shot on aperture priority mode).  

This image went on to be placed 4th in the nature category at the California state fair 2016.

B) Shoot in raw - This is something which I am positive every photographer around will agree to. There is so much detail that can be saved in raw compared to jpeg.

This image below was taken when I heard some noises from my son's room after I had thought I put him to bed. I caught him jumping on his bed! Normally, I would never allow that; but; considering it was something he had never done that before after tucking him to bed, I had to run to grab my camera and capture that moment. I did not really adjust my settings at all but kept clicking away in the dark, with the only adjustment of increasing my ISO to 1600. It is not the best image as how I would have liked it and definitely not strong technically plus all the added grain but it certainly is a worthwhile memory that reminds me of the story! And all of that post adjustment in Lightroom was possible while saving all the detail only because I was shooting in raw.

B) Don't wait for the moment to happen - Although this seems contrary to what I said above about capturing organic moments as they occur; sometimes you may just need to give a bit of a push. And that's what lifestyle photography is all about as compared to documentary photography.

In the image below; I 'placed' my son to stand right in that spot while keeping the blinds and drapes open so that I can let that sun in and capture the sun burst. It sometimes is okay to 'make a moment' happen that can look organic/spontaneous while you want to achieve your goal.

Lifestyle photography is something which I by far enjoy the most. In a way, you know what to expect; but there still could be surprises that can occur especially when working with families with little kids. The best emotions in kids can be captured when you let them simply be.

When it comes to travel and landscape photography where the things are not 'moving' as such, it can easier to capture the scene. However, challenges can still be there when it comes to busy places, changing weather and hence not having enough time to change your settings, if shooting in manual as much. Regardless; being spontaneous, having your camera on you at most times can be very beneficial to not miss out on moments or scenes you want to capture.

Are you a spontaneous photographer craving for capturing moments as they occur (documentary) or prefer 'making a moment' happen within a slightly 'controlled' setting (lifestyle)? I would love to know your thoughts.


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