Among all the important things I’ve learned as a photographer, one stands out:
T a k e t h e p h o t o n o w !
This has become my mantra.
At times I’ve told myself, I’ll come back later because:
- The light isn’t right.
- Right now I’m tired, bored, lazy, uninspired (fill in the blank).
- I didn’t bring my camera.
- There’s too many people/distractions around.
What happens is:
- I go back and the subject isn’t there any more.
- I put off going back because I wasn’t motivated to get there when the light was right; i.e., dawn (I don’t want to get up), sunset (it’s the end of the day and I’m tired).
- Things have changed and the subject/environment isn’t the same.
- It’s difficult to go back because the subject was in a different state or location.
Glad I Took the Picture Now
This is part of a local spot that I visit often. Sometimes that’s the worst because you take your subject for granted, thinking you can always come back tomorrow, next week, next month. However, when I went back later this is what I found:
Another photo I took Now:
I was quickly on my way to trackside for races to begin when I saw this Porsche 356 in it’s paddock. As I was shooting on film, I didn’t have the immediate feedback one has with digital. The light was very dim and there were enumerable distractions in the background (tool chests, mechanics, other cars). I brought my camera up, grabbed the shot, and kept on walking. I had to wait to see the result. It turned out to be a favorite of mine. I’m glad I made the snap decision to take the photograph.
So, I’ve learned:
- Always take your camera.
- Don’t get hung up on inspiration. I’ve found that just getting in the act of taking a picture initiates inspiration.
- Even though it might not appear to be a great shot, it could turn out to be one.
- If it’s difficult to come back, if you won’t be back at all, or you don’t have control of your subject, don’t worry about the light.
I’ve had photographers say to me, You’re taking a photo in the middle of the day? The light is terrible! Sometimes there is no choice. I’ve been in locales I might not ever be in again, at times of the day that I’ve had no control over. Working as a race car photographer I had no control over my subject. I had to take the picture now.
I’ve taken photos in the middle of the day and they turned out ok.
Photos taken in the middle of the day
Of course, if you can control all elements, such as time of day when you shoot, you will want to utilize that beautiful light around dawn and dusk. If you can’t, take the shot anyway, doing the best you can with the circumstances at hand.
There is always Photoshop if you need adjustments to make that image perfect.