Thinking a Photo Through – South Dakota

I’m sitting in our trailer at Spit Rock campground, Garretson South Dakota. As I write this, two flies on the table next to me are courting like there’s no tomorrow. I could swat them, but I’ll let it go. I figure when you’re a fly, there very likely is no tomorrow. Let the kids have their fun.

Speaking of kids, my own kept waking us up last night. It was not out best sleep by any means. I awoke before sunrise to my alarm. Looked out at the sky, decided it was bland and promptly went back to sleep. That’s what I call a good sunrise. And it’s the advantage of sleeping a hundred yards from where you plan to shoot.

I finally roused 9:30, opting to work the later light (I think it really was better) and spent my morning planning photos of the falls at this city campground in which we were the only dwellers. I Made two compositions. I probably could have done only one, but I wanted to try a second view. I’m finding the more I plan my images, the less work I have later, but more importantly, the better my results are, because I analyze the details and really plan my compositions.

Now you may be thinking. Long planning is not always possible with high pace things like weddings and portraits. And you may be right, to a point. Even there however taking a moment to think and really look at what we’re doing makes a lot of difference. So often we just start clicking away. Taking the same poor composition, or leaving the same distracting twig in the scene frame after frame after frame.

More frames of a scene do not usually equal better results. I’ve been challenging myself to think my work through. And it works. So I challenge you to do the same. Yes, in a situation like this morning I had the time to walk around for twenty minutes before I even put a camera in my hand. But I’m learning that in most situations, time, even if a only few seconds. And “really” taking a closer look at what your about to do, makes a big difference. That bride can wait ten seconds, right?

Does this mean I intend to stop capturing high pace candids at my weddings. No. We can shoot at much as we want with digital and that’s a great thing if there a real reason for it. But it’s not always the best approach. Whatever my situation, I can still pay close attention and think it through… Gav

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