The best photos are in your everyday life.
1. Treat every moment as beautiful
2. Walk on the streets 25% slower than you normally do
3. Photograph your loved ones (children, partner, friends)
4. Use program (P) mode
Set it and forget it. Don’t worry so much about the “perfect” camera settings. To capture personally-meaningful moments/the ‘decisive moment’ is far more important than getting the perfect settings on your camera.
Use “P” (program) mode, center-point autofocus, ISO 800-1600, and just shoot.
This will allow you to focus more on framing, composition, and capturing the moment.
5. Use a small camera
Just use your iPhone, your Android phone, or a small point and shoot camera or a small mirrorless camera.
This is what I’ve discovered:
The smaller your camera, the more likely you are to carry it with you everywhere you go.
The bigger your camera, the less likely you are to carry it with you everywhere you go.
6. Shoot multiple photos of the same scene
When you see something interesting, don’t just shoot 1-2 photos of the scene. Shoot many. If the scene is personally meaningful to you, shoot 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, or even 100 photos of the scene.
And when you’re done, and you review your pictures, choose your best 1 photo of the scene.
7. Don’t think you must travel to make good photos
Traveling is a good way to find inspiration to make photos. But realize — your best photos are to be shot at home.
Shoot your own neighborhood or hometown like you were a tourist.
A lot of us get carried away with the fantasy that we must only travel to find inspiration to shoot. We imagine ourselves like Steve McCurry, making these amazing photos by always being on the road.
The truth is — even though you’re constantly traveling, it is hard to find inspiration to make photos.
Regardless of where you live, always realize there is a beautiful photo opportunity waiting to be made.
As a thought experiment, just consider:
If I were a tourist in my own city, what would I find interesting, weird, or exotic?
8. Shoot in the grocery store
Whenever I go grocery shopping with Cindy, I always have my camera around my neck or in my hand. I look for photo opportunities in grocery stores, or even at Costco when I’m in the states.
Ask for permission to photograph the staff. Shoot interesting scenes, like the free samples table. Photograph the food and packaging. Take candid photos of the other shoppers there.
I like to shoot in grocery stores, because grocery stores show so much of your culture. For example, in America, “bigger is better”— and we have Walmart and other mega grocery stores, compared to the smaller and nimble grocery stores in Europe.
Regardless of where you live, you will find your own city and grocery stores as “normal”— but by taking an outsiders perspective, you can find more inspiration to photograph your everyday life.
9. Photograph objects, up close
Everything is interesting, as long as you look closely enough.
Photograph your food, and make sure the background is simple and clean. Use a flash, and use macro close up mode on your camera.
Assignment: only photograph objects in your home. Shoot the curtains, shoot the locks of your doors, photograph the toilet in your bathroom, photograph your coffee cups, and shoot outside of your window looking out.
10. Shoot yourself
Honor thy selfie. You’re the best subject to photograph.
Shoot self portraits of yourself by using the selfie mode on your phone, and try to do it in a creative and artistic way. Tilt your head. Shoot from a low angle looking up. Don’t look into the lens.
Or use the front facing camera, and shoot selfies of yourself through the glass, or the mirror. Shoot selfies of yourself by photographing your own shadow.
Your everyday life might seem boring, but realize it is beautiful, and precious.
The ultimate zen photographer: finding beauty in the mundane, of your everyday ordinary life.
Never forget to smile, appreciate each day of your life, and keep shooting.
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