I’m currently the most prolific I’ve ever been in photography– shooting hundreds of photographs a day of just random stuff. I feel fantastic, and want to share this joy with you — how I have been able to shoot photographs everyday, and find joy and beauty in the mundane, everyday.
Re-inspire your photography with STREET HUNT: your practical street photography field guide, with 49+ Practical assignments to stay inspired and challenge you to photograph everyday, everywhere!
Why Shoot Photos Everyday?
First of all, why shoot photos everyday?
Let me outline some ideas:
- We never know when we will die: Therefore, it makes sense to shoot everyday. Who knows if we will die in a texting-while-driving accident today, or whether a driver will run a red light and hit us while we are crossing the street while checking our Instagram. I like to shoot everyday like it were my last, so at least if I die today, someone can recover my camera, look at my photos on my SD card, and hopefully have some photographs that can bring a future person joy.
- To me it makes sense to shoot everyday, to feel joy of photography everyday, and to potentially make a great photograph that you can share with others. We often delay our happiness and our joy in photography, by thinking that we can only become truly creative and artistic as photographers in the far distant future– when we retire, or travel. But no, we can find joy in our everyday lives to make photographs, right now.
- By making photographs everyday, we are being creative everyday. By being creative everyday, we feel more joy everyday. By feeling more joy everyday, we will feel happier everyday.
Why does creating stuff make us happy?
To me, I see ‘creativity’ as the act of creating things– whether the act of creating photos, creating drawings, creating words, poems, rhymes, or movements with our body (dance). I don’t see creativity as some inner-mind state or artistic-DNA gene that only some individuals are endowed with.
Once again to clarify, there is a difference between being creative (prolific artistic, making/creating a lot of stuff) and being novel (the general definition of ‘creativity’).
Why we are happy when we are in the active state of creation:
- We focus all of our mental energy and efforts towards making a piece of art. Thus, we are not distracted by the stresses of everyday living, like finances, family drama, etc.
- By being able to exercise our artistic/visual muscles, we feel stronger. The best attribute an artist can feel is strength– strength and confidence in him-herself, and to be drunk off the zen-state of active creation.
- We have a sense of purpose, direction, and focus in our lives. Often, we are just bored– suffering from ‘ennui’ (not knowing what to do with our mental energy). For example, after grinding at our 9-5 jobs, we go home, and have all this free time, but we are unsure what to do with our time, and mental energy. Thus, we just apply the visual-audio media anesthesia of YouTube, Netflix, video games, or anything else that distracts us, or we just get high off weed or drink a bunch of alcohol to lull ourselves to sleep.
We are happiest, and feel the most fulfilled, and feel the most powerful and in control of our lives when we are in the active state of creating things.
I think photography is the best art form. We are able to make instant visual sketches of the world and reality around ourselves, and we can make art anywhere and everywhere.
To make photographs everyday is to be grateful everyday, and to share the joy of existence and appreciation of life.
The camera is the easiest, most effective tool of making visual art. The camera is faster, easier, and more seamless in making visual art than any pen, pencil, or artistic tool.
Practical tips to shoot everyday
I will give you some personal remedies that have helped me photograph everyday:
1. Don’t be a prisoner of a genre of photography. Shoot anything and everything.
For example, shoot photos of your food, shoot street photos, shoot self-portraits or selfies of yourself, shoot abstract photos, shoot macro close-up photos, shoot photos from far away, shoot trash, nature, or just interesting colors.
By not trapping yourself in a genre, you will see and experience more photographic opportunities. And the more opportunities you have in your photography, the more inspiration you will find around yourself.
2. Simple and small camera:
I personally shoot with a RICOH GR II with (new) ERIC KIM Neck Strap. I have discovered this truth: the smaller your camera is, the more likely you are to carry it with you everywhere you go. The more you carry your camera with you, the more photo opportunities you will see. Thus, the more you will shoot.
I have also found the benefit of using a neck strap is that your camera is always ready to shoot. My New Year’s resolution this year has been to never leave the house without the camera around my neck — and I’ve been able to make massive amounts of photographs as a result.
- The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide for Cameras in Street Photography
- 30 Inspirational New Year’s Photography Resolutions
3. Shoot with simple settings:
I shoot in P (program) mode, center point autofocus, with ISO 800 during day (and ISO 1600 at night). This helps me think less about the technical settings, which can paralyze me. I don’t think about technical settings; I just shoot. The less resistance you have with technical settings in your camera, the more you will shoot.
4. Shoot in JPEG:
I am a huge proponent in shooting in JPEG instead of RAW. The problem of RAW: I often shoot a lot less, because of the stress of knowing that when I go home, I will have to waste tons of time processing my photos.
Shooting JPEG has simplified my photographic life– by being able to already know what my photos will look like (when I shoot with RICOH GR II and the LCD screen, I already am able to pre-visualize what my final result is).
Not only that, but you are allowed to shoot more in JPEG, because the file sizes are smaller. Thus, fewer concerns and worries about file storage later on.
5. Don’t worry too much about making a great single image:
This is probably the thing that paralyzed me the most in photography — hunting for that one great single photograph I could upload to social media, and get a bunch of likes.
Now, I don’t care too much about making a super-great single photograph. I see the photos more like a stream — I have been uploading many photos in the form of ‘photo diaries’ on this blog (often uploading 50-60 photographs in one post). I also have been making video slideshows, which allow me to output more photographs.
Therefore, I recommend starting your own photography website/blog (wordpress.com is the easiest solution) and posting series of photographs, instead of just trying to maximize your likes on a single photograph on Instagram/Facebook.
6. Photographic assignments/hunts
One of the best ways to shoot more is to give yourself fun photographic assignments. This is why we made STREET HUNT: Street Photography Field Assignments, to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and to find more interesting things/places to shoot.
Ideas for photo assignments:
- Locations: Shoot in different places, like coffee shops, parks, subways, or at the mall.
- Subject matter: Shoot different types of subjects, like coffee cups, people wearing suits, hipsters, people with tattoos, construction workers, or selfies of yourself.
- Composition: Practice shooting triangles, leading lines, circles, spirals, the golden rectangle composition, textures.
To find more joy, happiness, and direction in your life– just keep making photos everyday. Don’t worry too much about the final result– realize the joy of the ACTIVE form of creation is what makes life and art so enjoyable.
SHOOT EVERYDAY, ALL DAY!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Street Photography 101
- Photography Composition
- Learn From the Masters
- Photography Entrepreneurship 101
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