Confessions Of a Photographer

Confessions, guilty pleasures and the like. All photographers spanning all genres have them.

These are habits that we have possessed over time from using our cameras, whether unconsciously or not. They are quirks we’ve developed from some form or process of our photographic journeys. These confessions may be considered good or bad depending on the individual.

Don’t turn your back on your confessions, they can be telling of what’s working for you versus what’s not.

So without further ado, I am going to admit to a handful of my own which will hopefully spark an internal monologue within for you. In no particular order, let’s get started..

I love boring, flat light.

This can be quite a debate among photographers, as our artistic medium quite literally relies on light and the quality of it.

I cannot count on a single hand how many photo outings I’ve been on where the lighting was too direct, too harsh and very uninspiring. A lot of my more recent trips record my reactions on video camera.

I speak pretty often about my disdain for “bright, sunny midday light.” Many other photographers will echo the same statements and it makes sense as to why.

Look to the images above. Both daffodil shots are the same in every way except the quality of strength of light. Some viewers may say the sunlight “enlivens” the flower photo, while others will appreciate the more diffused appearance of the other image. You decide.

One of the best aspects of taking your own photographs is that ultimately you are in control of the outcome. I simply choose to spend most of my photography time when outdoors on a cloudy or overcast day. From there, the images I take satisfy me more than the more unpredictable blown-out highlights of high noon daylight.

My post processing workflow is very redundant and same-y.

This confession is more out of laziness and repetition than anything else. I have obtained a “cookie-cutter style” editing process over the years. I tend to use the same five or six global sliders without much else in the way of editing or enhancing anything else, regardless of the subject matter.

Some may say that this is simply a maturation of my editing style but when does that become a crutch? If every image you edit feels like a homogenized copycat of everything before, then maybe a shakeup is in order.

An image I edited with Skylum Luminar, and added a digital white mat with signature.

If you’re feeling frustrated then maybe try out a free trial to another post processing software? A completely new editing workflow means you have to relearn what you’ve known, therefore leading to new results. If you enjoy your free trial enough then consider purchasing said software.

I keep my polarizer filters on my lenses at all times.

I treat these in the same way a regular photographer would keep a UV filter on their lens(es). Circular polarizer (CPL) filters are integral to my workflow when out in the field as they help enhance my imagery.

Several CPL filter uses are the reduction of sun glare in a creek or any reflections, the saturation of colors in a deep blue sky or simply to use a slightly longer exposure.

This habit may have started out as pure laziness and yet I have come to appreciate the aesthetic on my photographs. The only exception happens to be wildlife imagery with a telephoto zoom lens where the widest aperture is typically desired.

Shooting handheld can be lazy and feel “rushed.”

This may be one hot take for some, as I use a tripod for the majority of my work.

Using any kind of tripod or stabilization helps center and ground you in your environment.

A tripod allows my creativity to flourish as I shoot an image under pressure. The changing light diminishes quickly and yet the focus stays persistent. It’s almost as if that piece of gear garners improvement in my compositions.

Shooting handheld for me becomes too fast to make a difference, my prospective photos become mere snapshots and some feeling or integrity is lost in translation.

While I almost always choose to use a tripod, stripping that three-legged hindrance from the camera at times can be creatively freeing.

I stress the emphasis that my opinion on these matters changes back and forth, day by day. More often than not I reach for a tripod to ease my naturally shaky hands, sometimes using a monopod for wildlife photography. If you find yourself rushing to take as many images as possible. Slow. Down. See if a tripod helps in making you a more mindful photographer.

My compositions can often become stagnant.

I see the natural world sometimes with a consistent viewpoint. Once again this argument could be reinforced in that I have found my photographic style. But as the creator of your work you have to decide to make a change or to continue on with the visual look.

Juxtaposed or leading lines permeate much of my landscape compositions as well. Off-centered and isolated trees, meandering paths take precedence to my eyes.

At the end of the day, these confessions can be very telling of where your portfolio currently stands. It is important to reflect every once in a while to produce better photographs in the future!

So there you have it, these are a handful of ways that I happened to confess almost like photographic sin. What confessions and hard truths are you keeping secret? Leave them in a comment down below. I look forward to reading them.

Check out my newest endeavor with two other Midwest photographers.

The ‘All Outdoors Photography Podcast” is a show where we discuss stories from out in the field, techniques and gear.

Available in video form on YouTube and audio on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and your other favorite podcast apps.

Published by Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor is a 25 year old photographer located in Beavercreek Ohio, United States. Specializing in wildlife and landscapes both big and small, Ryan has sought to capture many different natural locations throughout the Buckeye State and beyond.

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