Wednesday, February 2, 2011

House Rules

What's my story? What do I tell myself when I photograph? What are the rules that define my photography?
Its interesting... I really don't have any technical photography rules because I have never been trained by anyone. No one has told me how or what to do in regard to technical photography skills and the do's and don'ts. So, I feel lucky in that way because really - ignorance is bliss in this case. I learn by experimentation. Its all discovery - everyday. Its really not a bad way to live. Of course there are the standard rules of composition, the elements of design and all that - these are keepers. No change there.

As far as rules that I have set for myself regarding photography - the biggest is that I have to hurry. I have to quickly take a shot and not dally.. not take the time it really needs. If I'm with someone else I feel like I'm holding them up - that its too much to ask to take their time.

I'm too fast and not allowing myself to really take the time a good photo needs. Time to set up the shot, time to look more deeply at what it is I am trying to capture. What am I trying to say with this photo. What is the subject and where am I focused. These are not the things that I think about. These are the things that I need to think about. I find that I have many photos that were almost great, but they weren't because they were out of focus or the focus is in the wrong place. The thoughtfulness and mindfulness was not there when I took that photo.

New Rule:: More thoughtfulness, less snap-and-go.

I have to constantly remind myself that the photography is for me. Its not about what I think someone else will like. The photos I choose are the ones that I like, I love. These are the photos that I choose to share for that reason alone. This is about expression of what I see in my daily life. I catch myself constantly thinking about whether or not someone else will like my photo today. Out with those thoughts and in with the new.

New Rule:: Share the photos I love and don't worry about what others think.

This photo above adopts my two rules. I took my time on this one. I watched and waited. I took a few and adjusted for exposure and aperture. I loved the solitude of this man looking out the window. I loved the story it seems to tell or the ambiguity it leaves when you wonder what or who is he thinking about. I like the mood the black and white gives the photo. I was happy with this one.


  1. I love how you added rules to help you rather than subtracted! Wonderful insights. The rules really came through for you here, your image is beautifully composed and has feeling. I connect with it as well.

  2. great post, I am always rushing my shots if I am out in public, it is so easy not to take time, I love how you have taken the time and it shows in this fabulous and interesting shot.

  3. I loved what you wrote. Your words are so wise and the rules hold true for me as well.

  4. Terrific post! The time factor is an issue for me too....I'm worried about "catching the moment" or making people wait for me. I love, love, love that photo. It really speaks to me.

  5. Great insights! Thanks for this post; it made me realize that I share both of these tendencies and I'm going to concentrate more on "not" rushing and "not" photographing just for me. The shot you shared is compelling.

  6. What a wonderful post - thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! I find myself very much in your words and your post really inspires me to take my time, too. I'm your newest follower :-)

  7. Love this photo and the post! I think you've articulated some things that we've all gone through. By making a conscious effort to slow down and envision our photo, we'll get better. It's always hard when others are with you but if it's someone who's with you a lot, they'll come to understand that you can't be rushed. My husband has become much more patient. Now, if I can just get him to stop interrupting with his ideas while I'm concentrating! And I'm just beginning to embrace the last "rule". At the end of the day, the photos we take are expressions from within us.

  8. Wonderful post indeed. I relate to the last rule in particular - not only in photography, but in life in general, since I am far too prone to consider other people's opinions at the expense of my own self-esteem.

    jennifée / littlescribe

  9. As others have already mentioned repeatedly, this is a wonderfully wise post. I "thought" I was the ONLY ONE who hurried shots (sometimes out of excitement...but too often because of worrying about what others might think or fearing I might be in their way). While being respectful of others' needs & opinions, I still must work to find "my shot" share "my vision"...and it might bless someone else...but it certainly will be a joy for me to capture a glimpse, a memory, some magic of a certain thing, time, place or event. Thanks for sharing these reminders!


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