The way I approach photography has come a long way in the last year. It started changing even earlier than that, when I got the DSLR that I now use, but it was a year ago that my interest was really sparked.
I’m an amateur photographer and, as such, I cannot spend all my time shooting or thinking about photography (though the mind certainly wanders in that direction rather often). However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t approach photography in a serious way.
Perhaps the most important part of this is how I approach the shoots I do; even though I’m mostly limited to shooting my girls in the living room, I do so with the ambition that the next shot I take will be good enough to earn a place in my portfolio. A lot of the times I don’t get anything that makes the cut but, when I do, it’s worth the effort many times over. If there’s one thing I’ve realized it’s that good photos don’t come to those who just sit around and wait, you have to be willing to get out there and shoot and make a conscious effort. I know, I still shoot most of my stuff in the living room. Often that’s the best I can manage with the time I have – the lack of time is just something that goes with the territory when you have a full time job and a family. I’m trying though, I’ve been out in a snow storm and I’ve dragged a tent outside to shoot. Granted, both of those occasions were just outside the house but I still put in the extra effort to actually get out there.
Expanding upon these efforts and take them to the next level is a big goal for me during 2012; I really want to shoot more diverse subjects in more interesting locations. I have a couple of ideas on how to achieve that but I’m not sure any of them will work out or yield any good results. Stay tuned though, I’ll report here as and if anything of interest happens.
Another thing I’ve been working on more recently has been to organize my online presence in order to make it more coherent, uniform and strong. It all started with this blog and in the last few months or so I’ve started structuring things in a way that just makes more sense. I now have a portfolio for my best work, a place for selling prints, a place for bulk uploads, a presence in social media and, of course, this blog for longer discussions and updates. I’ve spent a fair amount of time on all this but I enjoy the results so it doesn’t feel like a chore. These places are still evolving while I try to figure out exactly what I want to get out of them.
The next step in getting organized is to improve my workflow – actually getting a proper workflow at all would be a good start. That will start taking effect when I get Lightroom 4, which should be fairly soon. After Adobe announced that they were cutting the price in half, I just didn’t have any more excuses, I need to get a copy to replace my Lightroom 3 which, how should we put it…perhaps isn’t completely on the level…
As you can see, my approach to photography is about so much more than just taking the photographs, it’s about everything around that and what it leads up to. Some of you are probably wondering at this point why I’m spending so much time and work on all this. Well, the main reason is that I enjoy doing it. I enjoy shooting, processing, sharing and writing about photography and that just makes it very easy to decide what I want to do when I have some spare time. However, there’s another reason as well, a more long term reason that may never even come into play. Like many other hobby photographers I harbour the dream of some day making a living from my passion. It may never happen, maybe I won’t get good enough or maybe I’ll fail on the business end if I give it a try in the future – but I still keep the dream alive. By approaching things in a more serious and structured way I’m not only making things easier for myself as I keep shooting more and, consequently, getting a lot more to keep track of. I also secretly prepare myself for the day when I might take the plunge into the world of professionals. If I already have all the infrastructure and workflow in place, the transition should be a lot easier to make.
So, that’s my approach to photography, seen from the perspective of someone who really wants to improve and expand and who also keeps en eye on the future. How do the rest of you go about things? What goes through your mind as you press the shutter? What do you hope to get out of it? Share your thoughts in the comments – seriously, share…or I’ll have to hunt you down and force it from you…just kidding – or am I?