Practice, Practice, Practice
"ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness"
I'll start with a quote from Malcolm Gladwell's 2008 book "Outliers", "ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness". In short, you need to practice something for a very long time to become a master at it. Since I'm not home to photograph clients or models as often as I'd like to, I keep up my skills in a couple of ways while I'm on the road doing my "day job", and below is a few of the ways that I do this.
100 Strangers Project
Though I don't do this as often as I'd like to (some days I just don't have the time), this is my favorite project and my favorite way to practice. I started this project last August, and it WAS supposed to be "100 strangers in 100 days", well, that didn't happen, did it?! Sometimes we are driving pretty hard that I just don't have the time to take the camera out and ask strangers to pose for me, so I changed it to "100 Strangers". I do this project more so while I'm on the road than at home, I should rethink this. I find quite a few interesting people when I'm running errands around town while we're at home.
I use my big girl camera (Nikon D750) and my Nikon 50mm lens for this project since I'm taking a lot of these stranger photos indoors. This camera and lens combination is pretty good in low light. The photo I'm using for this blog post was of a young gentleman inside of a maintenance shop on an overcast day in the Pacific Northwest. Sometimes I'll also use my small white reflector if I remember to get it out of the truck, but I didn't use it for this photo.
This type of project not only helps me keep up my skills with my primary camera, but it also helps me with talking to and posing strangers. This project helps me develop my skills of photographing in low light conditions and knowing what settings are best on my camera in these conditions, especially since I shoot in manual mode. This helps me to better understand my camera, especially since this camera is fairly new to me, compared to my other camera (my Nikon D5300) that I've had and used for over 4 years. If you want to see my progress with this project, I've got a page for it under the Discover tab.
A Day In The Life Of project
I got the idea of this project from Gina Milicia, a photographer and podcaster from Australia (her podcast with Valerie Khoo is So You Want To Be A Photographer?). She suggested choosing someone to photograph their day, from start to finish. I thought well hell, I can do this, I've got a husband with me that I can photograph his day.
Since he drives at night, this becomes sort of a challenge, if I want to take any photos of him while driving. Because you can't very well use a flash while someone's driving, it will ruin their vision for a bit afterwards, and I can't have him running us off the road. I started this project during the late spring when we started getting longer days, that way I would have the light to do this with. Taking photos of him driving and of our instruments at dusk wasn't that difficult, especially with my 50mm lens which has an f stop of 1.4. I'm almost done with this project (at least of my husband), I want to create a short video of him doing his job also. I'll post the photos from this project under the Discover tab.
I like this project as well, and I want to continue doing this one with other people. I hope to find someone that would be willing to let me follow them for a day. Maybe I'll post something on facebook and do this while I'm at home.
Photos with my cell
You're probably thinking, well yeah, everyone takes photos with their cell. Yes, they do, but how many of you think about your composition when doing so. This is one of the best ways to practice your composition and to think of how you would like to use the photo, besides for memories of special moments. I love taking photos of landscapes that I see while hubby is driving, I DO NOT take photos while I'm driving, that is an accident waiting to happen. Later, while I'm waiting to get a load I'll look through the photos on my phone and see which ones I can edit in Snapseed (a wonderfully free editing app) then I'll post it in my social media.
The cell phone is everyone's most readily available camera and there are so many things you can do with them (besides put animal ears on your selfie). Snapseed is just not for editing photos, I also use the App to put banners on the photo and add my message or a quote to make it interesting. There are so many things you can do with cell phone photos, and one of the best things you can do, is get the photos printed! There are quite a few labs out there now that will print the photos you have on your phone, check them out and get it done, it's worth it!
Practice may not make me perfect, but it will make me a better photographer
Those are a few of the ways that I try to practice my skills as photographer while I'm on the road, and I hope to become a master at this craft. Is there something that you enjoy doing and want to become better at? If so, what do you do to practice? Let me know in the comments section below. And remember, to always enjoy life, enjoy the day and take lots of photos for the memories! Peace Out!
Wan-100 Strangers Project