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What is Most Important in Photography?


When I was around ten years old I got my first camera and all I wanted to do was enjoy taking photographs and hopefully not spoil too much of the expensive film.


Later, when I got my first SLR camera, my aim was to improve my skills and to take some worthwhile pictures around my local area. I put considerable pressure on myself to ‘achieve’ something with my photography and as a result I began to lose interest in taking out my camera as I felt I could never reach my own high expectations.


Now that I have returned to photography, and intend to take it seriously, I want to ensure that it will be a lifelong interest and that I will continue to enjoy the passion for photography that I have today.


However, I still often feel that I should capture a ‘compelling’ photo every time I go out with my camera, or at least get a photo that I like, and this isn’t always what happens. Sometimes I get home and look at my images only to realise that I have nothing worthwhile to show for my outing. So, rather than become frustrated and disappointed, I have decided to consider what, for me, is really most important in photography.


IMPORTANT ASPECTS IN PHOTOGRAPHY


I suggest that there are three important aspects to photography, especially for those who are beginning to take photography seriously.


Without doubt, it is important to be able to capture a decent image. It is important for our self belief, if nothing else, that we succeed in getting an image that we are really proud of, at least occasionally. Yet I have often come home with poor images knowing that my photography outing has still been worthwhile, so to me, getting a good image is not most important in photography.


Another important aspect of photography for beginners and hobbyists is to see measurable improvements in our photography skills. We want to know that we are making progress, that we are learning more about our camera, about composition and use of lighting, about being creative with our photography. These are all vital to our development as photographers and obviously it is important to pay attention to this aspect of photography, and to give it the importance it deserves.


But the element of photography that I have identified as being the most important in photography is enjoyment. Granted, if we don’t occasionally get good images or if we don’t see progress, we are likely to lose heart and not enjoy our photography, as I once did. But I believe that if we go out with the intention of enjoying our photography shoot, regardless of whether we get a good image or master a skill, then we have more chance of achieving these outcomes also.


Today my aim is still to improve at what I am doing and to capture some worthwhile images but those are not the most important aspects of photography for me at this stage of my journey.


What I value most is the enjoyment of being out with my camera, the sense of relaxation I feel when photographing, and the feeling of being in the moment, focused on what I am doing, having space and time for myself. This gives me the freedom to experiment, to photograph what appeals to me, and to not feel pressured to come home with a winning photograph. In fact, most of the images I show here on my website are mediocre at best, but they illustrate a work in progress, skill development and, above all, the results of an enjoyable pastime.


Here are some images I have taken on recent photography shoots. Some are street/urban images, some are landscape and others are general photography images of subjects that caught my eye. None of them would be considered to be great images but I enjoyed capturing all of them and that enjoyment is, to me, what is most important in photography.


Pigeon walk

Walking with pigeons


I like the humour in this photograph. The two pigeons appear to be going for a walk with the girl.

Shadows on wall

Shadows


I enjoyed waiting by this old wall for an interesting subject or subjects to come along.

Insect close-up

Insect on a leaf


I recently bought a relatively inexpensive macro lens and I enjoy experimenting to see what I can capture.

Leaf abstract

Leafy abstract


I enjoy playing with colour, shape and texture to see what I can create.

Woman in the rain

Walking in the rain


Sometimes I enjoy taking out my phone and capturing a random subject that catches my eye!

Leading line

What's ahead?


I am always drawn to including leading lines in my images.


FINAL THOUGHTS


My aim for my photography is not to take an amazing picture, win a competition or gain thousands of likes on Instagram.


My aim is to go out with my camera and enjoy the experience.


I believe that if we slow down, take away the pressure of having to get a certain result, and just go out to enjoy what we are doing, we will inject passion and fun into our photography and these often, in my experience, translate into better images, increased confidence in our technical and creative skills, and an overall more enjoyable experience.


What do you think?

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