Friday, March 28, 2014

The Pictures You Take Before The Pictures You Want To Take

I have railed against this before, but I'm going to take another stab.

Lots of people who imagine themselves as serious about photography seem to be stuck practicing. They're taking the pictures they feel they need to take before they can get to taking the pictures they actually want to take. They're testing, they're shopping. They're getting together the gear and the skills they're going to need to take the pictures they actually want to take.

Some people do this forever.

Stop it.

Do you want to take aerial photographs? Stop mucking about shopping for the right lens, and discussing what the best camera is. Go get your pilot's license, buy a drone or a kite, or learn to skydive. Do it now.

Do you want to shoot erotica? Stop shopping for lights and modifiers, stop arguing about scrims versus beauty lights on internet forums, stop reading strobist and making tests with a basketball. Hire a model who will get naked, and take some pictures. Do it now. Get on modelmayhem or onemodelplace or whatever, find a model you like, and make contact. Contact 3 or more, in fact. GO.

Do you want to take large format photographs from the top of the Burj Khalifa? You will need to buy a large format camera, a plane ticket to Dubai, and you'll need to figure out how to get a permit. Go get started. Stop reading up on what the lightest field camera is, just go buy something that's in your budget, and GO.

I see people, even quite good photographers, posting pictures with some commentary along the lines of I was out and about and I saw this and I thought I'd shoot a little series and it makes me sad. You're pretty good, and you're wasting your time and talent taking pretty good pictures of .. stuff .. for no apparent reason except to post them on the internets so people can look at them and, maybe, tell you that you're pretty good.

Figure out what you want to do, and do that. If you don't know what you want to do, then stop farting around and figure out what it is you want to do. And then go do that.

Take the pictures you want to take, not the pictures that come before those.

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