I’ve been shooting more with an LCD screen lately on the Ricoh GR II — and I feel liberated.
1. Creativity with composition
First of all, I love shooting on the LCD screen because I feel it helps me be more creative with my compositions. It encourages me to take risks, and experiment.
For example, with the LCD screen, I can put the camera on the ground. I can hold it up very high (while still seeing while I’m framing).
With the LCD screen, I use a diagonal-overlay on the Ricoh GR II, which allows me to see the world with diagonal lines. It encourages me to shoot more diagonals.
Furthermore, I can do crazy stuff with the LCD screen — like sticking my camera inside a hole in a wall, through a fence, or in other situations where I cannot shoot otherwise.
Some composition tips:
- Composition Lesson #1: Triangles
- Composition Lesson #2: Figure-to-ground
- Composition Lesson #3: Diagonals
- Composition Lesson #4: Leading Lines
- Composition Lesson #5: Depth
- Composition Lesson #6: Framing
- Composition Lesson #7: Perspective
- Composition Lesson #8: Curves
- Composition Lesson #9: Self-Portraits
- Composition Lesson #10: Urban Landscapes
- Composition Lesson #11: “Spot the not”
- Composition Lesson #12: Color Theory
- Composition Lesson #13: Multiple-Subjects
- Composition Lesson #14: Square Format
To learn more, see all composition articles >
2. It helps me get closer
It is easier to stick out your arm and shoot with a camera with an LCD screen, than getting very close to someone with the viewfinder stuck to your eye.
This has helped me shoot more street photography on a 28mm lens.
I know my friend Neil Ta likes to shoot with the LCD screen on his Fujifilm x100, because it makes him more low-key. He is more discrete. People don’t notice him shooting as much.
It is true that if you want to be more stealth in photography, using an LCD screen makes you look more of a tourist, and less harmful. Not only that, but people aren’t quite sure when you’re taking a photo.
3. It makes the camera smaller
If your camera has no viewfinder, the camera is smaller. Easier to fit in your front pocket. And the more you have your camera in your front pocket or hand, the more likely you are to bring it with you everywhere you go, and the more likely you are to take more photos (generally my biggest problem).
4. I can see the world in black and white
I’ve been shooting a lot of high contrast black and white lately, and shooting with an LCD screen helps me see the world in this blissful monochromatic ink.
I shoot in RAW, but set the preview to high contrast black and white. This helps me see the lights and shadows. And before I take a photo, I know what it will look like. I also use my free Lightroom presets (Eric Kim Monochrome 1600).
This has helped me better see the world in monochrome, and has been good training for my eyes.
To learn how to shoot black and white, read these resources:
5. I take my photography less seriously
The last advantage of shooting with an LCD screen is that it helps me play around ore. I use it like a point and shoot camera, like a kid, having fun.
I think photographers need to have more fun in their photography. We need to take ourselves less seriously.
I remember when I started photography, I felt like I needed an optical viewfinder to look like a ‘pro.’ But in reality, having this child-like ‘beginner’s mind‘ is what helped me initially build up my curiosity and inspiration in photography. And this is what I want to return to — this child-like state of curiosity in photography, without limits, and without ‘rules’ or boundaries.
If you have a camera with an LCD screen, try to experiment and use it. I don’t recommend shooting in ‘live view’ on a DSLR (too slow).
But I still like optical viewfinders, but have been finding that shooting with an LCD screen (or electronic viewfinder, EVF) opens up new creative opportunities as well.
There are no rules in photography. Just have fun.
Learn more: Creativity >