The display on the back of the camera – switch it off.
Even for someone like me who spent years trusting my skill with film and shooting in thousands of different situations its a sobering thing to do – switching off the display. Because like many photographers these days I’ve become addicted to the instant confirmation of the shot.
Only recently did I think to do it, and only last week put it into practice. Can’t believe it took me so long to do it. Maybe lots of photographers out there do this, but if they do they’re hiding it well, because almost every photographer I see has their face stuck in the back of the camera and they’re not looking through the viewfinder!
So last Wednesday I was in London and on the way home spent a few minutes taking pics with the display off as an experiment. It became very hard to not press the ‘play’ button to see what I had shot. I found this restriction I had imposed on myself quite annoying so I stopped after 20 minutes or so. I put it down to being tired and thought tomorrow I’ll try again.
Next day I was working back in Deal again and got there ages before my job started and so went for a walk with my camera (and with the screen off again). I just pretty much shot anything for about an hour. This time I found it more enjoyable – maybe I was tired the day before or perhaps it was the relaxing effect of being in Deal.
Well I did feel that it freed me up somewhat, didn’t create any earth shattering photographs, but had a good time. I continued to shoot part of the job later that day in the same way. Although I have to admit that at a certain point the lighting got a bit tricky so I switched on again – still addicted! But I will shoot more this way and see if it changes how I shoot. Just realised that sounds weird – been shooting for 40 years and I’m looking to see how something might change how I shoot! I think what I really mean is – lets see if I start shooting like I used to before digital came along.
What I did find last week was that switching off the display did tighten up my camera skills and did make me look outwards rather than inwards into what I had just shot. It’s worth a try. Switch off and tighten up!