Of course, there are way more than five tips for being a good photographer.
But, I’m focusing on these five for now, because they seem to be such a surprise to the students that come to my photography workshops.
That’s aside from the fact that I don’t focus on f-stops, shutter speed, and types of lenses. That would be like telling someone who’s learning to drive that a car has a steering wheel, a brake, and an engine. F-stops and other technical details can be learned in one lesson, and the more you use your camera, the better you will get at them.
Those technicalities are not what make a good photographer. In the same way, having a convection oven doesn’t make you a good cook and having a Lamborghini doesn’t make you a good driver.
Technology and technical learning, like most other regurgitated learning, do not make anyone a good anything.
To succeed in any individual department of life, you need to be good at life as a whole. And that means being aware, awake, and alive. Machinery can’t do that for you.
That said, becoming aware is a journey. We are often so conditioned by society and our upbringing that we can’t see beyond the conventional. So, here are some tips about how to start waking up to life.
1. Let go of your mind
Its endless monkey chatter and insistence on judging things as good or bad will block your instinctive sense of what works. Instead of thinking, listen—with your attention, not your ears. (Your attention is actually your soul.)
2. Remember, it’s not the camera that takes the photo
It’s you. All of you. Not just your physical eyes. When the whole of you is attuned to the whole of what you’re photographing, the image that results will be remarkable. (The same applies to everything in life. If you bring your entire attention to bear on whatever you are doing right now, you’ll have the best outcome.)
3. Be aware of essence, energy, and spirit in everything you do
Everything is energy. Frequencies differ, which is why a chair looks different from a dog. But, at its core, in its essence, everything emits and absorbs energy. If you allow yourself to tune into the energy, you will be able to capture it via your camera and in the way you express your life.
4. Reject fear in favor of love
Fear is the mind’s favorite tool for distracting you from what matters in life. Fear arises from our regrets and anguish about the past and projects itself into anxieties about the future. Photos taken in a state of fear will fail. Love, on the other hand, is not some vague, sentimental concept. It’s the result of being in the present moment, noticing with full awareness and without judging what is happening right now. That calm, soft, accepting mindfulness makes whatever you see meaningful. It therefore makes whatever you capture meaningful. What you capture carries your mindfulness.
5. Let what you’re photographing come to you
Let it show itself. Which comes back to listening, paying attention. If you’re being ever so busy choosing the subject according to your mind’s dictates and you’re moving around to get the ‘right’ angle, you’ll miss what is whispering that it needs to be shown to the world. Stop. Listen. Be aware. Make the photograph about something other than yourself and the ego that wants to be praised for being the best photographer in the world. Be a servant of what needs to be shown.
About the Author:
Photographer, author, designer, visionary, teacher, inspirational speaker, philanthropist… Marlene Neumann‘s creative vision and celebration of life is visible and felt through her astounding photographs.
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