Ok so in part one we discovered that we could improve our photography by actually carrying the camera out the door and having it with us. Now I know you are saying “Rich this is so stupid, don’t you have anything else to blog about.” I really do agree it is stupid and we all do stupid things. Like some people have a $400 point & shoot they never use and other people have a $800 DSLR they never use. Now that is “stupid.” You could have given that money to good charity or given it to me, lol.
So in part two we are going to get even more stupid because we are going to talk about how if you actually push the shutter button your photography gets even better. Seriously! We are talking about getting a good photo maybe even a great photo and that may mean stepping out of the little box your hiding in and asking someone “can I take a photo of you, would you please pose for me,” something along those lines. Now I’m not talking about awkward stuff like shooting at just random people. I’m talking about let’s say a performer on the street. Many people will just photograph from a distance and well… now you have a nice snapshot. You would be surprised what can happen when you ask. Lay on the sidewalk and shoot up at the performer and get a different view. Or it could be a situation and you want to get a different perspective. Here is a great example; I was covering and event for a Thai ladies social group that my wife belongs to, the event was a river boat ride up and down the East River. At some point I thought it would be awesome to photograph the inside of the wheel house and get some nice shots of the captain doing what captains do. So I asked and it was not easy but I was granted five minutes with the captain. It was awesome and I came away with some shots that I never would have got if I did not ask. Again, it is stepping out of the comfort zone and asking and hoping you don’t get a “no” and if you do get a “no” so what, at least you asked. If you don’t ask you will never get the “no” or a “yes.”
Now sometimes it is not about asking it is about position and angles. Ten photographers are all lined up next to each other to photograph the same train coming down the line. So look at your resources and see if you can’t get a different position or perspective of the situation. You might be surprised to find they all have the same photo and yours is vastly different because of position. Maybe it would have been easier to just line up with the sheeples, but you chose to walk up the muddy hill and you slipped and fell and got mud on your pants. That mud on the pants wasn’t that big of price to pay for a unique photo that no one else got. Just use common sense and don’t put yourself in to harm’s way. One time I asked the man controlling the taxi line at the Sahara hotel & casino in Las Vegas if it would be ok if I stepped out in front of the traffic and got a photo of the overhead structural work. He said “no problem” and held the taxi line for about 2 minutes. I offered a tip and he said no just email me the photo and I did. The difference between a good photo and a great photo can be perspective, a different angle, and you may have to go out of your way to get it or ask for it.
So the message I’m trying to convey here is “you can improve your photography vastly by going a little out of your way to just find a different perspective than what the norm is and not being too lazy to do it.” Many times people are afraid to just ask. Or if they do take a photo it is in the footsteps of a thousand other photographers. Look at all those iconic landscape scenes that we see in photography, scenes like the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Statue of Liberty… oh here’s one, the Golden Gate Bridge. What do all these places have in common? The have all been photographed thousands upon thousands of times, anybody can get a good photo of the Golden Gate Bridge. Just go stand where thousands of other photographers have stood and you’ll get a good photo. Why, I’ll bet those standing spots are so easy to find because there’ll be ruts in the ground. Go to www.500px.com and put “Golden Gate Bridge” in the search and 9440 photos come up. If I was to shoot the Golden Gate Bridge, a photo of the bridge rising through the fog would most likely be the last thing I would shoot, it has been done so many times it is not even funny. It is not about the gear or how much your camera cost, it is about putting something interesting and different in front of your lens and you just might have to get out of a comfort zone to do it.