Shoot Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
When people ask me what I shoot, I respond with, “I’m a portrait and travel photographer. That pretty much sums it up, and I get the corresponding head nod. I have spent years practicing my lighting setups, model direction, getting my camera settings down, and investing in gear. I’m happy. However, if I stopped here, it would be such a waste.
Professionals will tell you that you should pick a genre and master it. Shoot what you like and concentrate on it. I agree. You should figure out what it is that you want to do the most and do that. It’s impossible to become great at everything. With that said, there is no reason whatsoever not to try something different and new from time to time. While I started out shooting portraits, I realized that it would be a missed opportunity not to shoot travel as well. I travel for a living and have been to some of the most beautiful places on earth.
Stepping outside of your comfort zone means that you’re going to take the chance of shooting something that you’ve never shot before. You’re willing to accept that your first attempt is probably not going to be great. However, you’re going to learn! Just getting the settings right means that you’ve mastered doing manually what the camera would have probably done had you set it to AUTO. That may seem harsh, but it’s true. It’s not enough just to take a technically correct photo anymore. It’s expected!
If you’re a “photographer,” then, of course, we expect you to get a shot that’s in focus with the correct exposure. Are you surprised when you go into a restaurant, order a dish and it comes out exactly how you expected? No. You expect the chef to be able to prepare the meal you ordered. That’s why you went to a professional in the first place. Now, if you take a bite and it’s better than anything you’ve ever tasted before, then you’re surprised and pleased. That’s how photography works.
I’m not a morning person by any means. However, I got the opportunity to attend a landscape workshop led by Joe McNally and Moose Peterson. Who says no to that opportunity? Next thing you know, I was in my car headed up to Traverse City, Michigan.(more…)