Don’t Think While You’re Shooting

Thinking while you’re out shooting photos is bad.

When you’re out shooting photos, you must turn off your brain. 

Avoid ‘paralysis by analysis’

light shik do rak

The best photography is shot from the gut.

This is the problem:

Often when we over-think shooting a photo, we don’t shoot at all.

And I believe that it is better to take a ‘bad’ photo, than to take no photo.

Why? Because you can never predict when you will make a good (or bad) photo. The only way to determine whether you will make a good photo is to just shoot it, and figure out whether it is good (once you get home).

So much of photography is chance.

Consider, when you’re out shooting street photography, you cannot predict or control a lot of things:

  1. You cannot control who is going to be out walking on the streets.
  2. You cannot control how your subjects look like (or what clothes they are wearing)
  3. You cannot control how your subjects will react you to taking their photo
  4. You cannot control the weather
  5. You cannot control the chaos of reality

What can you control?

  1. You can control whether to go out today to shoot photos.
  2. You can control which neighborhoods or areas to photograph.
  3. You can control your technical settings in your camera (aperture, shutter speed, focus, etc)
  4. You can control the exposure 
  5. You can control the composition (how to frame your camera)

What happens when you over-think when you’re shooting?

When you think too much when you’re shooting street photography, you will end up NOT shooting. Why? 

We start to over-think the scene. We start to get worried whether people will react negatively to us. We are afraid of getting yelled at. 

How to turn off your brain when you’re shooting

  1. When you see something you think might even have a 1% percent chance of being a good photo, just start shooting!
  2. Discover the composition while you are shooting. For example, see an interesting scene, and start to adjust your composition and framing while you’re “working the scene“. 
  3. Experiment shooting street photography with headphones on, or while listening to music. Note: be careful– don’t get hit by a car and die.
  4. Talk to your subjects while you’re shooting. This will make you less worried.
  5. Realize there is nothing morally or ethically wrong with shooting street photography. 

Just shoot it.

No genres in photography. Shoot anything and everything!

If you see something that is mildly interesting to you, just shoot it. Just shoot a lot, and constantly practice your composition and framing!

shik do rak

Photograph while you’re walking. Just shoot with whatever camera is convenient for you; the phone is a legitimate camera

Keep it simple with your camera. Just shoot with a RICOH GR II if you want a compact, small camera (pair it with an ERIC KIM NECK STRAP, or an ERIC KIM WRIST STRAP).

Half of the fun of photography is just framing; practice filling the frame with whatever you find interesting, and experiment with different types of framing (dutch angle, diagonal, tilt).

Shoot for fun, shoot from the gut, and do all the image-editing and image-culling later!