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How I Stumbled Across an Amazing Way to Slow Down My Shooting Process

A guest post by John Davenport

I, like many new photographers, would walk around shooting everything I saw without consciously thinking about the way it was framed or the settings on my camera. If you browse through the archives of my blog you’ll see a clear pattern of growth and learning in the images, but admittedly, I still have a long way to go!

Tree Over the Water.jpeg

For me it’s always been hard to slow down. I’ve always been the type of person that wanted results now, not later, and slowing down to think through a shot seemed like I’d be wasting time. Even after reading posts here on dPS like, these three stupidly simple reasons, it still took me a while to learn to slow down. For the first few months of my photography experience I handheld everything – it just took too long to set up the tripod.

Of course, I finally did get sick of those blurry images and I decided that the tripod was worth more than just a good walking stick after all. While, at first setting up the tripod did help me slow down and it certainly improved my image quality, it didn’t help me slow down to the point where I was thinking critically about the shot. I was still going too fast!

So What’s This Magical New Method?

While out on a typical photo walk I stumbled upon this awesome new technique when this crazy idea to pull out my iPhone and film my camera setup popped in my head. I decided to explain my thought process on the shot, and finally I ended up sharing that video with my small group of readers over on my blog. The result was the photo you see above and the video embedded below.

Okay, so it’s rough around the edges, but be kind, it’s my first video ever, and I am frozen!

The point here isn’t the quality of the video or even the fact that I’m recording it with the mindset to show my readers how I took the shot. The point I have is that recording a video like this is a good idea even if you’re not going to show it to anyone! It took me until when I got home that night to realize exactly why, but here are the reasons I came up with.

Three Benefits of Recording Your Shot

  1. You’re Forced to Talk About It – When you’re out setting up the shot how often do you actually talk it through? I know we always say, “Think it through, frame it right, and double check your settings”, but a video forces you to talk through the shot and that’s a completely different experience.
  2. You’ve got Evidence – After a typical shoot all you’re going to have is the memories and your photographs. A video will give you a clear view of how you set the camera up and even an insight into your thought process when you were shooting which is something that’d be hard to convey otherwise.
  3. And of course Slow Methodical Set Up – Due to the added time it takes to record a video you’re without a doubt going to slow down and think about the shot from every possible angle, which should result in a better composed image.

Now I know recording a video is impossible for every single shot and I don’t expect anyone to do that, but personally I’m going to try to do this process at least once every week or two.

Can you think of any other benefits to recording your shot? Have you ever done something like this? I’d love to hear what you think.

John Davenport is an avid amateur photographer who posts daily photos on his blog Phogropathy. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter and his brand new Youtube Channel.

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