I’ve been making a lot of photos recently and I feel better than ever. This is some stuff I wish I could tell myself:
1. Photographing the people you love
The first strange bias in photography is this: if you make photos of your friends, family, yourself, or even your kid, it is somehow not “legitimate”— that somehow in order to make legitimate photos they must be of foreign entities, strangers, and people you do not know.
But, if your goal is to make more photos, photograph human beings and people, especially of those around you. There is nothing more interesting than photographing another human being.
2. Go on a hike
Ever since Covid hit, Cindy and I have been finding ourselves doing a lot of nature things. Like going to the park, going on a hike, or going outdoors.
I think the first big misconception about hiking is that you need all this crazy equipment and hiking shoes, and that you also need to go very far. Cindy and I have been able to find some very good trails only 30 minutes away, and we just wear our minimalist $25 Amazon shoes to hike.
Why has hiking been so good for taking photos? Because, there’s so many things to photograph. You could photograph rocks, the uneven terrain, sunsets, mountain ranges, trees, and other random things you see along the way.
3. try to walk 30,000 steps a day
One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was trying to walk at least 30,000 steps a day. I have not yet hit my goal, yet it is a good one. Why? I tried to optimize my life for walking . That is, the more time I could spend outdoors, and the more I could be on my feet, the better.
Certainly, I find cities like Mexico City far more interesting than the boring southern California suburbs, yet, I think it actually takes more skill, ingenuity, and effort to make interesting photos in a boring place, than to just shoot average photos in an interesting place.
4. Shoot more selfies
When there is nothing left to photograph, just photograph yourself. Why selfies? Because no matter what, you can always shoot yourself. Shoot your reflection in the mirror, shoot your shadow on the floor, or just point your camera towards you.
5. Photograph what you eat, drink, and do on daily basis
My photography teacher Constantine Manos once told me don’t get suckered by the exotic. That is to say, do not think that one needs to live an exotic existence, or that one needs to shoot exotic photos for the photos to be worthy.
Just photograph the uber ordinary. photograph your every day activities, the coffee you drink, the food you eat, the grocery store you visit, etc.