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5 more Tips for Escaping the Luck Shooter Mentality

5 more Tips for Escaping the Luck Shooter MentalityQ. “I’ve read your post on 5 ways to stop being a luck photographer a dozen times and I desire to do that! But I’m having a hard time letting go of that mentality of if I don’t click as often I’ll ‘miss’ the shot. I’m stuck with the ‘what if I miss it’ mindset and can’t seem to shake it.”

A. I akin the impulse to keep pressing the shutter to the mother bear instinct. It’s pretty fierce, the instinct to shoot continuously, for fear of missing something. I think for myself as a mom, especially, it actually IS part of my mother bear instinct. I’m dead set on preserving their childhood and keeping them young and sweet forever and the stone cold fear of missing one single moment is unmistakable.

In the post 5 ways to stop shooting for luck and start taking pictures on purpose, I outlined the 5 things you need to work on to stop being a ‘spray and pray’ photographer. If you’ve got these skills but still find it hard to let go of the impulse to shoot at random, consider these 5 more tips:

Sometimes it’s ok – It’s not always so bad to shoot at random. I dedicate a small portion of my sessions to a few moments of complete spontaneity. With a paying client {for whom I absolutely must provide results} I would be careful about what portion of the session this takes place and I usually place it towards the end. Once kids start running wild and free, it’s hard to reel them back in. But as long as you’re purposefully doing it, it’s ok! It gets my heart racing to pop a memory card into the computer once in a while and see what magic may have happened without me even realizing it.

Familiarity – Shoot in locations you know well. This can keep you calm and relaxed and remove the element of not being familiar with your surroundings. And to be even more controlled, try to shoot at the same time of day when possible.

Breathe – If you start feeling frantic and out of control, take a breather. Put your camera down, shake it out and calculate your next shot.

Resist – In my experience, when I resist the impulse to just ‘grab’ this shot or that shot and I actually handcraft the portrait I’m after, I have felt far more deeply satisfied with the end results than I ever did by taking 500 shots and ending up with a couple magic ones. Because no matter how magical they may have been, I know that I didn’t make those photos, I merely captured them. Sometimes this is what I’m after, but mostly, it’s not. I want to make portraits, not just take pictures.

Challenge – Set yourself a challenge. Plan a shot. Go out and take it. Don’t shoot anything else. Dedicate the session to taking that one perfect shot and once you think you’ve got it, go home and revel in the beauty of what you’ve accomplished. You’ll get addicted, I promise! And next time, try two ideas and then three. Next thing you know, you’ll be a photographer capable of producing an entire session of portraits you planned before you even stepped out the door.

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Elizabeth Halford
Elizabeth Halford

is a photographer and advertising creative producer in Orlando, FL. She wrote her first article for dPS in 2010. Her most popular one racked up over 100k shares!

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