Practice Photography Locally
Do you ever take photos in your backyard? Along the road by your house? In the park that is very close to your house? I hope so. I practice photography locally. OFTEN! You cannot become a skilled photographer by just packing up your gear and heading to some remote, stunningly beautiful, international location and expect to come home with award winning images. There is no way it can happen. Great photographers all have one thing in common. They take a LOT of photographs.
I am not saying that you have to photograph everyday, but definitely try for every week, even if you are not working for someone. Why? Because like every professional out there – practice makes perfect. It takes time to learn how-to use your camera. It takes time to learn how-to see things that many may overlook. You could be in Kansas, New York City, or Yosemite there is something that EVERY photographer, out of every discipline can and should find to photograph. Photography is about finding compelling subject matter that leads your viewer into a world they have yet to experience.
The Location Matters – Subjects Matter More
Many workshop students tell me that it is easy for me. I live where the beauty lies. Yes that is true, but I am always looking for photographs. I find compelling photos in my garage, in my office, and even in the pans that are left over from dinner. I don’t care if I am in downtown L.A., the furthest reaches of South America, or some manufacturing factory, I will find something that catches my eye. This comes from the fact that I photograph as often as I can.
I photograph with friends, alone, with family, even with just the dog. Shoot a wide variety of subject matter. I have reached a point in my career where every thing has a rectangular frame around it, everything, even my naked wife. Sorry honey, I promise not to go into details from here.
Forget Discretion Photograph Everything
Whenever I am home, I head out for walks with camera in hand to photograph pretty much everything and anything that grabs my attention. I take those photos home, edit them, and then learn from them. Then my knowledge base continues to build daily and I take that with me whenever I travel and photograph for commercial clients. One thing that I learned early, was that all of the ideals of photography are interchangeable. By this I mean that any composition principle, any lighting technique, any subject matter can be taken from one photography discipline to another.
I often use techniques that I learned while photographing landscapes to create compelling wildlife photos and in turn have done the same while photographing adventure sports. This is how you broaden your focus of subjects to photograph, and a diversified photographer can follow the economy’s twists and turns to keep paying the bills. The catch is that you have to be good and have a strong understanding of why one shot works and another doesn’t. It all comes with the ability to practice photography locally to see success globally.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The more you photograph, the more you will see this interconnectivity. So next time you get home before dark and have a minute to sit on the couch, don’t. Grab your camera and take a walk around your neighborhood. Yes, I remember, I live five miles from the entrance to Grand Teton National Park, I get it. Some of my best photos however, have been created as easily as grabbing my camera just after returning home from skiing, in a snow storm at Christmas.
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