When you are out in the field shooting action, avoid the temptation to cluster up with a bunch of your fellow photographers. Chances are you will all be talking about that new lens at the same time the rare animal or cloud formation or whatever goes by and before you know it, it is too late to swing your camera lens around to capture the moment.

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Join the conversation! 15 Comments

  1. Good tip, Scott and very true.

  2. In my case, it’s not other photographers but toddler children. I can’t count the number of shots I’ve missed because I had a agitated toddler on my back.

  3. …or a spouse who decides that the seclusion of the woods is the perfect time to “have that talk.”

  4. I guess it depends on what stage in life you are at. I have two children under 4 and also work. So strapping a baby on my back and heading out with the camera is sometimes the only way I get to shoot. My four-year-old loves taking photos though, so she has one of my old point-and-shoot cameras. I asked her why she liked taking photos and she said “To remember”. The baby always wants a look at whatever I shoot(” me see! see! see!”). So perhaps I am nurturing the love of photography into the next generation. They are not interested in talking about the latest lense though :-)

  5. Yeah this is a great tip. I do this a lot.

  6. I’ve learnt to take no-one with me. My son is 13 and has a Canon 350D, but I don’t take him out with me. My husband feigns interest in photography and on the odd occassion he has come out with me he huffs and puffs his way round with “have you finished yet?” every 200 yards.

    Occassionally I have gone out with other photographers, but we tend to rapidly split up and only meet up again for a drink in the pub afterwards … then we discuss lenses, cameras, software, etc.

  7. Scott,
    In the “shoot alone” mindset, I have a question about learning alone. I have been to one DLWS event and loved it. Time precludes going to very many photo workshops but I have noticed many on-line photo “schools” and classes. Can you guys recommend some of the better or more reputable ones?

  8. @Martin there is a distinct difference between shooting and learning alone. You should always be willing to attend photo workshops in groups. There is a learning dynamic there which is helpful. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking that because you get some images you like in that situation that shooting in groups will result in the same. Shooting in groups is for fun or for learning or for social interactivity. Shooting alone is for making great images.

    I can’t suggest one school over the other – they all have their advantages and pitfalls and not everyone learns the same way. One person may respond differently than you would to the same circumstances. Just do some online research and ask lots of questions. Finally, try a one-day seminar or short session with the school to see if it’s a fit.

  9. one thing when you shoot alone depending where you are. Tell someone where you’re going and what area you’ll be approximately covering and when you expect to be back.

    This really helps preventing your corpse rotting away in some otherwise lovely rain forest area, (ghastly smell, don’t do it!).

    Again, this may or may not apply to where you’re going. If you’re doing an overland track across western Tasmania all by yourself for example, it’s a good idea to follow this practice.

  10. @Frank sort of off topic but I don’t think shooting alone in any way implies you wouldn’t let someone know where you are.

    And I have traveled Tasmania alone – got some great shots :) Of course it was 20 years ago so who knows. Might be more dangerous now.

  11. Alone most of the time, yes. My thinking is different solo. Lately, though, my wife is proving an able assistant and creative collaborator – she keeps coming up with ideas and angles I hadn’t considered. Not the typical situation, I know.

  12. Thanks, Scott. I often shoot in groups, because there is safety in numbers. However, I do exactly as you recommend and often stray from the group within a safe distance to focus on my photography.

  13. @Scott :) just as a note since it’s sometimes overlooked to let people know. The overland walks are pretty safe still I’d say. Haven’t been over in a few years tho.

  14. You forgot one point about shooting in groups. Someone will eventually say “oh, that will make a nice shot”, to which someone else will say “oh, your right!” [click click click click]

    When you get back to the shop and sync, you have 5 photographers all uploading the same photos … each at 6 or 10 inches of shoulder width apart. ;-)

  15. As much as I enjoy contact with other photographers, I understand what Scott is saying, I am in Yellowstone and everyone is drawn elbow to elbow to that one wolf or grizzly. It is easy to start shooting the breeze with the guy next to you and miss the wolf you been sitting on for hours get up from a nap and head toward the trees.

    Save the groups for Photo Walks and seminars. I learned my lesson.

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