Shoot Without Thinking

The best state to be in when you’re shooting is a “flow” state, when you’re shooting intelligently, without having to think!

I believe that thinking too much while shooting is deleterious to your photographic process. The goal of shooting is to make photos unconsciously; with no effort, with no hesitation, no fear, and no judgment.

In the words of Anders Petersen, “Shoot with your gut, edit [image select] with your brain.”

I believe the ultimate is to shoot photos without thinking; without prejudice, without using “rationality”, and without over-thinking things. Because often, overthinking leads to “paralysis by analysis” (you become paralyzed because you have too many choices to consider).

Better to shoot from your gut while you’re making photos, then figuring out what to do with your photos afterwards.

The problem is that in modern philosophy, too much credence is given to the “rational” part of our brain. Yet, I believe there is MORE wisdom in subconscious and unconscious thinking, than “rational” thinking.

This is because often your body does something, and then your brain comes up with an interpretation (after the fact) why you did it. Sometimes we do things without knowing why we did it, but our brains come up with some sort of (false) explanation on the motives of our actions.

With art, I feel the more we can create art without over-intellsctualizing it, the better.

But why is there this bias towards pretentious over-commentating on art, the type of pseudo-intellectualism you find in modern art galleries? Because art critics and curators want to assert their dominance over you, by confusing you with their big words, and to also justify their job.

In other words,

There is a lot of bullshit in the art world.

Trust yourself

Often when you have an impulse or an urge to photograph something, we don’t know why we find it interesting. But it doesn’t matter; we should just shoot it!

Once again,

If you see something which interests you visually, just shoot it! Don’t over-intellectualize it!

Too much knowledge is a bad thing

There is a curse of knowledge. Often having too much information and knowledge confuses and paralyzes us. If you see something you want to photograph, yet you’re too concerned about making the perfect composition or technical settings, you’re not going to shoot it!

This is why I advocate for the simplest possible settings when you’re shooting photos. Just shoot program (p) mode, SR+ mode on the Fujifilm XF10, or intelligent auto on Lumix cameras.

The less you think about your camera technical settings, the more you can get lost in the creative flow of making photos!

Don’t judge while you’re shooting

When you’re shooting photos, don’t think to yourself:

Will this be a good photo or not?

Just shoot it, then later figure out if you want to keep or ditch IT (upload your photos to if you need assistance keeping or ditching your photos).

Anti brain in photography, shoot from the gut!