Slow Down to Get the Right Shot

red tulip

red tulip

 

One of the pieces of advice that veteran photographers often give to the beginner is to slow down. In many respects it  sounds counter-intuitive because the popular image of  photographers is of  their working in rapidly changing situations. Photojournalist, sports photographers and even nature photographers need to be fast and intuitive : to know the right place to be, with the  right equipment and right settings at the absolute right moment. Failing this, the resultant  image could very well be a pass or swing with no ball anywhere in the scene. Or a picture of baby cubs walking off in opposite directions who just two  seconds before  had been frolicking together.  Even the  garden photographer must work under the same time constraints as he tries to capture a bee on a petal. For these photographers the best advice is really not so much “slow down” but rather  “/f8 and don’t be late” or some other admonishment to  be ready at any moment.

But not all photographers need to operate under such time restraints and really can and should slow down. I am the photographer who shot the above photograph of the tulips. It was just beginning to sprinkle,  but there was no real need  to rush through the shoot, but I did. I didn’t take the time to ensure that  the image I was about to capture was, in fact, the image I wanted.  I missed capturing a pleasing composition which was easily within my grasp because I committed a novice’s error. Had I slowed down,  I would have noticed that part of the red tulip was covered by  green leaves . That is the kind of oversight, beginner’s mistake, that makes an otherwise striking photograph unfit for exhibiting or framing …. it is only suitable for use as a cautionary tale.

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