Practice Practice Practice

Like any athlete, the art of photography requires discipline and practice. Take the sport of cycling for example, at the competitive level, (racing against some of the top-level professionals in the US) this discipline demands vast amounts of time. Training time is spent developing base fitness, pedaling rhythm, energy efficiency, bike handling skills, pack mobility, and many other very important skills; skills required to win bicycle races.

Cyclists in a tight paceline

As photographers we need to constantly exercise our ever-evolving craft if we are to become great image makers. This means keeping our “eye” sharp, knowing the difference between a good composition and a great composition, and refining our ability to capture that ever elusive and decisive moment.

For a cyclist, practice comes in the form of spending hours on his or her bike, “putting in the miles.” It also means racing a lot. By training his weaknesses and racing his strengths, the competitive cyclist stands a greater chance of winning key races.

As photographers, we must practice by shooting all the time, taking our cameras with us constantly. When we are not photographing we are spending several hours a day researching ideas and working through new projects. These ideas then fuel our drive for image capture as we set out into the world to record those images we consider unique and beautiful, worth pointing our camera at.

Through this careful and constant practice, great images will begin to appear and litter our image banks for further exploration. Eventually, through practice, you will land that next big show or position.

Take some time today to practice your craft. Before setting out with your camera today, sit down and think about what you want to learn and practice. Is there a particular subject you want to better understand through seeing? Is there a new idea you want to pursue? Think on this for thirty minutes, taking notes while you brainstorm these ideas. Just let your mind go free. Once you have completed this portion, set out on assignment, working through your ideas, letting the images come to you. Frame your subject and work with your aperture and shutter speed relationship as your resolve your composition. Realize, that the more you practice the more finely tuned your hand-eye coordination will become as you hold your camera and capture your images.

Brooks Jensen of LensWork Publishing has this to say about practice.

~ John Trefethen



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