To plan your images, or to shoot what comes naturally

Updated on September 5, 2017 in Photography
7 on July 24, 2017

This is something I think about often. When you are out on the streets, do you try to create specific photographs in a certain style, or do you shoot what comes naturally to you? 

When I started street photography I tried to copy the style of images I enjoyed. I have a lot of fun doing this, but I find that most of my best shots are taken very instinctively and without having to think too hard about them. 

I have found what works for me, but which do you prefer? And do you think one should photograph one way or the other? Just some food for thought, but I would be very interested to know your opinion.

 
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0 on July 25, 2017

Well, I shoot very instinctively most of the time. Sometimes an image emerges in my mind and then I start to search it. Both approaches are perfectly fine, and I think we all do both generally.

Trying to copy the photographers you admire it’s completely natural. Even when you shoot instinctively your unconscious it’s playing and doing it’s stuff.

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0 on July 26, 2017

I agree with Brian. I try everything—instinctive, copycat, intentionally wrong, whatever. I figure once I take a billion photos this way, my own style will start to emerge.

I do my thinking in the editing stage. Looking over what I’ve shot (that day as well as in the past), I look for patterns in my shots, in terms of subject, theme, colors, shapes, technique, or whatever. And I especially look for images that seem to jump out at me—those emotionally resonant images can be the ones that best represent your “style.” Hang on to those!

Once I identify some patterns, I think in terms of how I might print a set of 6–10 images to work as an exhibit. THEN I might be motivated to go out and intentionally shoot in a certain way, to get more images for that particular set.

But mostly, it’s just shoot, shoot, shoot.

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2 on July 26, 2017

I go with my gut. Always looking, always aware. I have 3 or 4 projects that I’m always looking to add too. I look for images that make me ask “Why” and “What’s the backstory” or like Lovejoy the antique divvy, something in my chest goes “bong”.

I don’t shoot a lot of images when I’m out, maybe 50 or so a day (two rolls or so in the old money). I have been called a contemplative or studied shooter at some of the seminars I’ve been to and that’s fair. 

If something goes “bong” when I driving (I like the prairie) it gets interesting as I throw out the anchor, head to the shoulder and hustle to what I saw.

When something in my chest goes “bong” I already know how the image is supposed to look in black and white, and how I’m going to develop, crop and process and which tools I’ll use. It’s like the old days for me: “Oh, this image needs a hard paper, this one a softer paper, this one glossy, this one matte and so on.” (guess my soup days are showing)

on July 26, 2017

I feel very identify with your words, 🙂

on July 26, 2017

identified* haha

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0 on July 27, 2017

personally i think its important to have a certain idea in your mind 

 

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0 on September 5, 2017

You plan your images and shoot naturally. 

What i mean is that you know what you are looking for example. I want to shoot couples today. And i want to do that in a certain area. An option is to just wait and shoot the couples as they pass by. Or use your personality to engage them and shoot them together. There are multiple ways. But Do not stage them. Just let it come naturally. Some will be good and some will be bad. But that is street photography. 

 

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