Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The value of preparation

Photography is instant. You press the shutter and capture a split second of light reflecting off your subject and registering on the camera's film or sensor. I've found that the most satisfying captures are often those special moments when the action unfolds in front of you and, just as everything comes together, you push the shutter. Magic.

So it's no wonder that so many photographers go off half-cocked. After all photography appears to be one of the most spontaneous 'art forms' there is.

In fact to create magic takes a lot of preparation. Before you do anything you should be considering what you want to shoot, the lenses you will need, the set up of your camera, background information on the location, know who you want to photograph or what. It's dedication and attention to detail that separates the photographer with a professional attitude from a happy snapper.

Even papparrazi take the time to learn locations, habits of their prey, build up vital contacts and most of them memorise loads of license plate numbers and phone numbers. Wedding photographers may do pre-wedding photo-shoots, scout locations and certainly take a detailed brief from the couple. Landscape photographers need to know what to expect from the weather, should have an idea of the angle of the sun, the tides if they're on the coast, the history of the place and what to expect generally from the location.

At the center and heart of every bit of preparation is the photographer thinking about and pre-visualising what he or she wants to shoot and how. This will inform all sorts of decisions such as equipment to take (why carry loads of stuff you won't need or use) and how to set up cameras to optimise the results.

No matter what you do when it comes to photography, by the time you pick up your camera to take the first shot you should have done stacks of preparation - if you're serious about getting the best possible results.

Please let me know if you found this useful by sending me an email. Could you also tell me if you would like to be added to my new mailing list. I plan to send out irregular emails about particular events, with tips and news that I don't include in my blog (my blog is more about personal opinion than photographic news).

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Paul Indigo
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