“I am happy when I read a good book, listen to a good song, play with my dog, joke with my mother, take a walk in the wild, watch the stars in the sky, help someone, spend time in solitude, speak the truth, watch kids play. Happiness is both within and without.” – Priya Kumar
Music is a universal motivator. I feel, I make good photographs when surrounded by music. Music lifts my soul & freeds it from any anxiety which in turn let me concentrate better on getting the photographs I envision. Try it. Put on your favorite play-list on your mobile phone, plug in the earphones & begin to photograph. You’ll feel motivated & that will show up in the photographs you make.
Music is also known to divert the mind from fear & anxiety. If you or your clients feel uncomfortable, let the music flow into background as you shoot. Playing their(clients) favorite song will make them drop their guard resulting into more natural photographs.
And at times when you cannot foresight any photography, sit down, close your eyes & listen to music for a while. Let it pierce through your soul. When you’re done, you will experience a new vigor to photograph. So put on the headphones & grab your camera to go on a journey to make musical photographs.
If you want to be a good photographer, develop the habit of getting up early in morning. Its the best time to shoot outdoors. I had this particular shot envisioned & I got up early today to shoot it. The result? I not only got the shot I wanted but much more.
I got up early even though the weather was chilly. Its a good time to cuddle under your blanket & sleep for some more hours but one should not take the excuse of bad weather for not getting up early. It just takes a small push at the beginning & once you do that, you will be on a roll. So I get up & once I’m done with my preliminaries, I leave home with my tripod & off-course the camera. The shot I wish to make today, is that of the Ganesha Temple at Shivaji Park. I had seen once how magnificent the marble shines in the darkness of the night. Its a spectacle.
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With the advent of Digital Photography, printing photographs have taken a back seat. I no longer see people taking out photo prints & preserving them in an album to enjoy later. This has been replaced by archiving all the pictures onto an optical media & forgetting them after a while. However, there is some magic a print casts which a digital cannot replicate. Forget replicate, do nothing at all.
With prints, one can take the album & have a good time anywhere. You may argue that so can be their digital counterparts transported across phone, tablets, laptops, photo frames etc. But do you feel the photo on these digital devices? Its there one moment & in the next it goes off. The feel of handling a photo album is unique. It somewhat helps you in reliving the moment at your ease. No hurry. When you’re satisfied soaking up into the photograph, you can turn the page. With digital you cannot do so(those digital flip albums are not even close to the real thing) & often there is not much of an emotional connect. A printed photograph is way too powerful. It can bring lot of emotions which seldom come out when gazing the same photograph on a digital device.
Prints are good but huge prints are great! Select one of your favourite photograph & have it printed large(anything above 12*18 inches). The bigger the better. Now just take the print in your hand or lay in on table or frame it and take a moment to look at it. Just look at it without thinking of anything. Slowly you’ll feel the emotions. As your eyes run across the print, you’ll begin to realize what you’ve been missing with the same image projected on a digital device. These feelings are indescribably. Every-time you look at the print you will feel better. In my home, I have close to half dozen of frames lined up across the wall opposite my bed. So whenever I open my eyes to a new day, they are the first things I happen to see. It brings pleasant feelings to me & my day gets off to a kick-start. At times, I feel soon I’ll have to purchase a bigger home to add more.
To photographers, a huge print even functions as a learning aid. You get to notice the composition, the details, the story of the photograph clearly. So from time to time its a good idea to print big an image or two of yours. Its one of the reason the photo contests ask the participants to submit images printed in larger sizes.
Once you print your photographs big, I bet you will derive a new outlook towards seeing photographs, one which will dramatically change your perception of photography.
Histogram is perhaps the most neglected aspect amongst photographers. I’ve come across photographers who’re not even aware of what is exactly an histogram. Those who are aware of it just know as to how it looks. They have no clue of what the peaks & canons suggest in an histogram. However to become a photographer of a substance, one must know how to read histograms. Its not rocket since & its fairly easy.
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I had noticed that unless there is some assignment or something important, my camera lies safely in its abode. I felt I’m not photographing enough in order to make myself a better photographer. Hence came the idea of undertaking a 365 Project.
In the beginning, I was daunted by the huge mountain of 365 Project. I thought to myself how long would I climb it successfully before I run out of oxygen. Each of the passing day meant fewer ideas for future shots. That’s when the climb began to feel stiffer. Slowly I could see the one’s who joined the project being motivated by me began to drop out one by one. There came a time when I was the only man climbing to the top. No, I didn’t think them to be my competition but on the contrary it was fun to have some people working on the same personal & collective goal.
The goal was distant but as they say, “to eat an elephant you need to just take an ant size bite”. Similarly, one must approach 365 Project one day at a time. No point in seeing it as a whole as that will definitely mean failure. I spread the word about my project all across my family & peers as that would mean further opportunities(and less nagging when I’m photographing as the food arrives at the hotel).
It has been a wonderful journey for 365 days & at the end I can only say, 365 Project not only made me a better photographer but also taught me a few other things. It taught me how to keep your feet grounded even if you achieve a higher position in life. Being humble is very important. No matter how big a photographer you are as there will be days when you just won’t be able to produce your magic. It was such days I use to get disappointed at first but later I accepted them as a part of project. These days of ordinary photographs keep you rooted & if you take them positively, they can fire you to continue doing better.
Secondly, 365 Project teaches you to be patient. Everyday you will be under pressure(see it as good pressure) to produce a different unique photograph for the day. As the clock clicks & you’re yet to photograph here you will begin to rush on things. And as you rush things, they get messier. Its time you stay calm & think about what & how to photograph. To be honest, I just had a single day in the year where I was under utmost bad pressure but still managed to produce a decent photograph. Over the time it got into me that 24 hours is a long time-span to get one photograph – a unique, well crafted, well seen photograph.
In a gist, 365 Project teaches you the qualities you need to lead life beautifully. The virtues of humility, patience, perseverance, endurance, practise, completing small chunks to accomplish large tasks/goals all help you to lead a better life. I highly recommend you to undertake the ’365 Project’. I’m continuing the project for the second successive year. Would love to have your company. Do drop your project links in comments so I can follow you.
My 365 Project