camera film, camera, sd card, batteries

camera film, camera, sd card, batteries

Dear friend,

A thought: to be happier in your photography and life, seek to shoot MORE photos, not “better” photos.


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Why shoot more photos?

disposable camera

This is my rationale:

  1. The more we shoot, the happier we are.
  2. You never know when you’re going to make a good photo. Thus, the more you shoot, the higher the likelihood of you making a good photo.
  3. Photography is a matter of chance, which means no matter how “hard” you try, you cannot guarantee that you will make a good photograph.

What that means is this:

Focus on quantity (shooting a lot) instead of quality (making a good photo) in order to be a more prolific, productive, and happier photographer.

INSTAX CAMERA


This is my analogy in photography:

Photography is like baseball. The more you swing your bat, the more likely you are to hit a home run.

In photography, the more you click, the more likely you are to make a good photo.

Woman at Santa Monica pier, waving hair, and shark.


Now, how do we shoot more? Some ideas:

1. Shoot with a small camera

Small is beautiful: RICOH GR II — my favorite street photography travel camera.
Small is beautiful: RICOH GR II — my favorite camera.

The smaller your camera, the more likely you are going to bring it with you everywhere. The more you carry your camera with you, the more opportunities you will find to make photos.

Use a small camera like RICOH GR II, or just shoot with your phone.


2. Don’t trap yourself within a genre

Security camera in desert. Australia, 2014. Portra 400

The worst type of tyranny we can do in our lives is “self-tyranny” — which means, you don’t allow yourself to take photos outside your “genre” or field of interest.

To me, all photography is photography. Thus, don’t limit yourself to a reductive category/genre in photography. Shoot anything and everything.


3. Photograph textures

If you need inspiration for something to shoot, shoot gritty textures on your phone.

As far as phone cameras go, I generally recommend the OnePlus, the Google Pixel with HDR+, or of course the iPhone.

Some photos I shot on a phone, to build my visual acuity, to keep my eye sharp:

Wooden textures in Kyoto. Kyoto, 2017. Google Nexus 6P and HDR+. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Kyoto, 2017. Google Nexus 6P and HDR+. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Wood texture. Kyoto, 2017. Google Nexus 6P and HDR+. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Kyoto, 2017. Google Nexus 6P and HDR+. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Diagonal yellow lines. Kyoto, 2017. Google Nexus 6P and HDR+. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Kyoto, 2017. Google Nexus 6P and HDR+. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Kyoto, 2017. Google Nexus 6P and HDR+. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Kyoto, 2017. Google Nexus 6P and HDR+. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Kyoto, 2017. Google Nexus 6P and HDR+. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Kyoto, 2017. Google Nexus 6P and HDR+. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

For more inspiration of subject-matter to shoot, pick up HOW TO SEE: Visual Guide to Composition, Color, & Editing in Photography and STREET HUNT: Street Photography Field Assignments Manual Print Edition.


4. Shoot more photos of your everyday life

Kyoto, 2017. Google Nexus 6P and HDR+. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Kyoto, 2017. Google Nexus 6P and HDR+. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I don’t think photography is just about making art– I think photography is also about documenting your everyday life. When I document my everyday life, I appreciate my life more, and I find more joy in the small details of my everyday life — going on a walk around the block, visiting a local park, or sharing a nice meal with Cindy.

Kyoto, 2017. Google Nexus 6P and HDR+. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Kyoto, 2017. Google Nexus 6P and HDR+. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Treat every moment like a photo moment. That means, just look around you, and if anything gives you even a 1% chance of an interesting photo, just shoot it!

Hanging towels. Osaka, 2018
Hanging towels. Osaka, 2018

5. Shoot blindly and randomly

Walking people. Osaka, 2018
Walking people. Osaka, 2018

If you have a hard time finding inspiration or motivation to shoot, just allow yourself to shoot randomly and blindly. Which means, when you’re walking on the streets, just point your camera (somewhere) and just keep clicking. No need to use your viewfinder or LCD screen.

This is one of the best ways to exercise your trigger-finger in photography, and the more randomly you shoot in photography, the more likely you are to make an interesting photo.

For example, I’ve been experimenting with just clicking random photos while crossing busy streets, and sometimes I get photos that I find interesting and I like.

Walking kids. Osaka, 2018
Walking kids. Osaka, 2018

Of course, you should always use your viewfinder whenever possible, and try to frame/compose your scenes as intentionally as you can. But, if your focus is to increase your output of photos, spend more time shooting blindly and randomly.


6. Shoot at the grocery store

Super Tamade, Grocery store, Osaka, 2018
Super Tamade, Grocery store, Osaka, 2018

We all gotta eat. Whenever you stop by the local grocery store, Costco, or convenience store, take photos inside. You’d be surprised how much interesting stuff you can find.

Some photos I shot while inside a grocery store (Super Tamade, discount grocery store) in Osaka:


7. Shoot macro

One thing I love most about shooting with my RICOH GR II or a phone: the ability of shooting macro (close-up focus). I often use the macro function and the flash, and suddenly I have so many more things I can photograph!

If your camera doesn’t have a macro function, I don’t recommend buying a macro lens. Just use your phone.

You can shoot better macro photos by focusing on details, and not showing the whole photograph. This will create a “curiosity gap“, which makes it more interesting for people to look at your photos:

Cindy putting on red lipstick. Osaka, 2018
Macro with RICOH GR II: Cindy putting on red lipstick. Osaka, 2018

Conclusion

Cindy taking a nap in our Osaka Airbnb, 2018
Cindy taking a nap in our Osaka Airbnb, 2018

The more experienced I get as a photographer, I am starting to realize more and more…

Photography isn’t about getting a bunch of likes, getting a bunch of followers, or “fame”/prestige.

Photography is all about having fun, being more adventurous in your everyday life, finding more joy in your everyday life, and having more fun in life/following your curiosity.

So friend, let us not seek to make “better” photos. Let us seek to make more fun photos, and to just shoot more! For us to experiment more, explore more, and to experience more joy in our real life through photography.

NEVER STOP SHOOTING,
ERIC

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Photography 101

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RICOH GR II selfie in mirror, double eye surreal. Prague, 2017
RICOH GR II selfie in mirror, double eye surreal. Prague, 2017

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Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos
Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

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