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How to Become a Faster Photographer


How to Become a Faster Photographer


Speed is paramount:

Why speed?

“Cool Prius!” (said nobody)

The funny thing is nowadays, the so-called virtuous say that it is more virtuous to take your time. To do things slowly is better. Slow food, slow living, etc.

However at the same time, ultimately we are more fascinated by speed. For example, we are fascinated by fast cars, fast sprinters, fast technology etc.

Even one of the great downsides of current electric vehicles is the recharge time. It is just too slow. Even with a supercharger; it takes 15 minutes to get to 200 hundred miles. Compare this with gasoline, where you get over 300 miles in less than a minute. Gasoline is still at least 10 times faster, maybe even 100 times faster than recharging your electric vehicle. This is why for ultimate ease and convenience in life, either a hybrid or a plug in hybrid car is still best.

Speed in photography

There are many ways you could integrate speed into your photography. The first one is shooting extra small JPEG. Essentially no buffer time, and it imports into your iPad, iPhone, or laptop insanely fast.

Also upload speeds. Unfortunately even in today’s world, we are limited by upload speeds. Even if you have the fastest Internet connection, uploading takes forever. Therefore the upside of shooting extra small JPEG is that extra small JPEG images (around 2000 pixels wide) is insanely fast.


And a few years back, I borrowed a Pentax 645Z, and shot extra small JPEG, with a positive film preset. During lunchtime, I imported all the photos into my iPad, and by the end of the wedding, I already uploaded to Google Drive/dropbox, and sent the files to my friend. This is the ultimate; speed.

Even I have found with communication, whether email or text messaging, better to send a quick bad response, then a slow good response. Or you can always do the funny confirmation of their email, very quickly, and tell them that you’ll get back to them; even though you may never.

Why speed?

I think the main upside and benefit of speed is that it allows you to do more, with less friction.

My ideal is that every single day, you’re constantly shooting photos throughout the day, maybe around 300 to 1000 images a day, and either during the day or in the evening, you are selecting and flagging your favorite images, and exporting them and uploading them concurrently.

For me one of the biggest things was getting rid of post processing. If you shoot extra high contrast black-and-white in camera, let us stay on your RICOH GR digital camera, you literally do not need to touch any of the images, and you do not need to post process them! It is almost like the digital equivalent to shooting film; one of the great things I loved about shooting film, and getting my film processed and scanned by Costco was that after the photos were scanned by Costco, I just used the scanned JPEG images, which already looked great! (FILM NOTES)

RAW is for suckers

In fact, I think in-camera JPEG photos look superior to processed RAW images. I say just experiment shooting in-camera JPEG; experiment with different color presets, for example I really like the “classic chrome” preset on the Fujifilm digital cameras, or use cross-process filter on the Ricoh GR digital camera for color.

RAW is too slow, cumbersome, annoying, and time-consuming. Anything which is time-consuming is bad.

No hesitation

Has this ever happened to you? That you saw an interesting potential photo opportunity, and instead of just shooting it, you hesitated, because you thought either you shot it before, or it might be a boring photo?

I say conquer this. Just shoot cliché photos, or photos you think you have already shot before. Do not strive for a good photo; just shoot instinctively.

Light feet

Vibram 5 Finger EL-X shoes are great. The lighter your shoes, the lighter your feet. The further you could walk with less fatigue, and also the faster you can sprint. I am a big fan of the notion of barefoot sprinting, and also barefoot walking. And barefoot running.

Faster coffee

The reason I love espresso machines at home so much is that it is literally the fastest way to make coffee in the morning. Also, just use an automatic grinder; much faster way to grind your coffee.

Also nowadays when I go to the coffee shop, I just order the cold brew. Why? It is so much faster; they just pour it from the spout, and I don’t need to wait for it at all. Also the reason I don’t like hot drip coffee; it is often way too hot, which means I have to wait before I drink it. And now that I got Seneca, I just need to quickly down the coffee. So if I order a cold brew, or a nitro cold brew, I just down the whole thing in one go, toss the cup, and get on with my day.

With espresso at the local coffee shop, you often have to wait for too long. Either there are other people in line, or the barista‘s are processing other orders, and also the caffeine content in espresso is not strong enough.

Voice dictation

Something I’ve also discovered; you can voice dictate something a quadrillion times faster than you can type it with your thumbs or even your fingers.

One way I have been able to be far more productive, and jot down my ideas quicker is by using voice dictation. For example, this whole thing was written by voice dictation; on my iPad. Just using iA Writer, and the built-in voice dictation function in the built-in Apple keyboard (bottom left button).

This is where vlogging is also good; vlogging is great because you can quickly and naturally process your thoughts, something which is much more natural, and much more personal than just written text.

Quick gym session

Also, you don’t want to spend too much time at the gym. I just want to quickly get in and out. What I personally do is I only stick to one lift every single gym session. Example, either a floor bench press, squats, or sumo deadlift. Once I’m done, I’m out.

Just move on

For me, progress is just keep doing the thing, and moving on with your life. For example, not to be too caught up in your past photos; more interest in the photos you’re going to shoot today, or the near future.

Therefore in my mind, speed is simply not looking back, but looking forward. Isn’t this the ultimate optimistic thought?



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