It’s time for photography! But for a many of us (myself included at times) the biggest challenge when it comes to the art of photography is not remembering if higher ISO means more or less noise, or if an aperture of f/5.6 will make a background blurry. The biggest challenge is often having enough time to take photos. Or edit and share them.
In this two post series I am going to cover both finding time for photography and making time for photography. There is a clear distinction between the two and a mixture of adjusting for both is needed by many of using pining for more shutter time. If this post on finding time does not ring true for you, I hope my next on making time to shoot will. Because, ultimately, this site is of no use to you if you don’t get out and put it into practice!
Stop Making Excuse
I know, starting out as the mean parent, aren’t I’? But really, stop making excuses for why you don’t have time to shoot. We all have things we need to do to ensure there is food on the table and a dry place to sleep. Some of us have far less leisure time than we’d like.
But you’re reading this blog post, for heaven’s sake. You could be shooting RIGHT NOW! Most of those excuses we make aren’t sincere examinations of where we spend our time or what is important to us. They are easy outs.
- “The light sucks today”
- “I can’t think of anything to shoot”
- “I don’t have the lens I want”
- “Editing will take longer than I have before preparing dinner”
I’m sure you can come up with more. We all can and it’s not that big of a deal. The difference between prolific photographers and complainers is will power and intent. If what you want to do is shoot more, and that’s a high priority for you, go do it and let something else go. Or simply be willing to admit other items are a higher priority (in my own life spending time with my daughter often preempts bringing my camera to shoot).
When you start prioritizing and accepting there are only so many hours in a day to get things done, you stop complaining because you are doing what needs to be done. You also stop making excuses for not shooting because those excuses are actually very important things in your life. If they aren’t, then it might be time to reexamine priorities.
Lower Your Expectations
That’s right, you’re expectations are one of the key factors to the reason you make excuses. I don’t mean lower your expectations in a negative way, especially not when it comes to the quality of your photos. But if your life is super busy right now, accept that. Then lower your expectation to have time to shoot.
Maybe you crave four hours a week to just hold a camera, wander and shoot. But life is getting in the way. Complaining won’t cure anything, but adjusting your expectation (while not necessarily lowering your overall desire to shoot for four hours) to come in line with what your schedule will actually afford will help. Maybe this week you can only squeeze in a 45 minute window after work one day. Or an hour before bedtime. Be thankful for what you have while continuing to wedge more shooting time into your schedule.
Carry Your Camera With You
The best chance you have for getting in more shooting time is to have your camera available. Those with large DSLRs might find this more troublesome but see Point #1: Stop making excuses. Having your camera at the ready during the day, even when taking the same slog to work, will open up small windows.
I’ve found when I carry a camera with me I don’t often get the stellar images I’m looking for that take time to research and setup. But I do shoot more and I do become more observant which serves me well in general. At the end of a day I might have 15 shots I never would have planned to take and maybe one of those is something worth sharing. That’s 15 shots, taking maybe 15 minutes, more towards the goal of “more time for photography”.
Take 10 minutes, after reading this post, and go shoot some photos. We all have 10 minutes in our day when we can stop what we’re doing. Even if it means arranging paperclips and post-it notes in your company’s supply closet into unique shapes and then using a pen light for ambiance, you can find and shoot something in 10 minutes. Will it win you a Pulitzer? Probably not. But it starts a pattern and a desire which helps lead to making photography a more important item on your list the next time you prioritize your day.
Shoot Less, But Higher Quality
Many complain about having the time and inspiration to shoot, but not the time to edit. Often we are our own worst enemy in this regard. Shooting anything and everything can cause an unwanted bottleneck at the computer when it’s time to doing something with those photos.
To help save on computer time, be very selective when shooting. As I mentioned in a previous post on the problems with nearly unlimited photos, time is a big sink when you shoot too many photos.
Be more selective. Shoot only one shot of a scene. Limit yourself. Coming home with four good shots is a lot more fun on the computer than coming home with 40 or 400. All of us could stand to shoot a few less photos. Give it a try.
Shoot In JPEG
I know I might stand a chance of being roasted alive for suggesting this; shoot in JPEG mode. If you are super crunched for time, taking out the need to convert and export your photos will save you time. It will also save time in importing photos (JPEG photos will take about 1/3 the time to import as RAW files). You will lose the benefits of shooting in RAW, specifically having more latitude when editing. So it’s a balance each needs to decide for themselves.
Examine Time Use
Lastly, examine where you spend your time each day. There are a number of websites on time management as well as books aplenty. Take some time (I know, I know….) to first find out where you are spending your time and then, in the second part of this series, we’ll take a look at making time for photography. If nothing else, carry a notebook and record what you do for each 30 minute block of the day. I’m sure you’ll start finding some gaps here and there which will lead to more photo time.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Making Time.
Do you have any suggestions for helping others find time to shoot? Please share them in the comments section below.