It’s easy to get in a photographic rut. You take a class or read a book and get excited and then years go by and you find yourself shooting the same way you did two, three or even four years ago. Have you gotten lazy? When was the last time you got up 30 minutes early to make CERTAIN you got the best light? Did you jump out of the car at your last photo shoot, plop down the tripod at the first place you saw, fire away and then call it a day? Or maybe you just shoot everything with the same lens now because it’s easy.

This post is designed to shake you up a bit and challenge you to get busy. Don’t be lazy. On your next photo shoot, try not to have any pre-conceived notions. Don’t play it safe. Just one time, go for broke. Try something new. Shoot from a different angle. Try a setting on your camera you’ve never used before. Shoot with a really high ISO or use a really slow shutter speed just to see what happens. Get closer than you ever have before and use an extremely wide-angle lens. Try thinking in black and white.

These are just a few of the ideas you can use to motivate yourself to try something, anything, that’s new. Who knows, you may come up with a prize-winning image.

Join the conversation! 31 Comments

  1. Really great post. I have felt a little camera fatigue lately, but this makes me want to go out and try some new stuff.

    Thanks for the advice!

  2. One of the hardest things for me to do is to slow down and let my creativity govern when I press the shutter. This is great advice and essential for creative photography.

  3. One of the hardest things for me to do is to slow down and let my creativity govern when I press the shutter. This is great advice and essential for creative photography.

  4. sometimes putting the zoom away and using only primes makes you think more about composition

  5. I’m self-conscious still and feel weird out in public taking shots sometimes. Unless I’m in an area with other people taking photos.

  6. I’m self-conscious still and feel weird out in public taking shots sometimes. Unless I’m in an area with other people taking photos.

  7. This comment doesn’t directly relate to your post Scott but it does touch it tangentially. I am a hobby photographer and like to take pictures of waterfalls in the area. But I find myself taking mass quantity instead of focusing on what really catches my eye and trying to bring that subject out. It’s so easy to get caught up in the whole environment and not see the true picture.
    So – I think your post touches that aspect of things as well; slow down, try something new, experiment, and have fun. But don’t overlook what the scene is all about and try to find the best way to capture it.

  8. This comment doesn’t directly relate to your post Scott but it does touch it tangentially. I am a hobby photographer and like to take pictures of waterfalls in the area. But I find myself taking mass quantity instead of focusing on what really catches my eye and trying to bring that subject out. It’s so easy to get caught up in the whole environment and not see the true picture.
    So – I think your post touches that aspect of things as well; slow down, try something new, experiment, and have fun. But don’t overlook what the scene is all about and try to find the best way to capture it.

  9. I’ve been lazy this summer, but that’s due to a shoulder surgery that prevented a lot of activity. I’m getting better though and have a busy weekend planned with 2 things I’ve never done; a photowalk in Downtown Cincinnati and I’m shooting an airshow the day after. I hate looking back at my image folders and seeing those gaps in dates where I go lazy and didn’t shoot.

  10. I’ve been lazy this summer, but that’s due to a shoulder surgery that prevented a lot of activity. I’m getting better though and have a busy weekend planned with 2 things I’ve never done; a photowalk in Downtown Cincinnati and I’m shooting an airshow the day after. I hate looking back at my image folders and seeing those gaps in dates where I go lazy and didn’t shoot.

  11. Scott, this post definitely touches on something that happened with me today. I was headed out early for work and as usual had taken my camera bag with me. On the way out of town, I noticed the lovely way the sun was rising and shining through the morning fog. Despite the prospect of a very long day of work and that any delays would make my workday that much longer, I took the time (slowed down) and stopped to take some photos. After taking 24 images, I packed back up and continued through my day. While it was only about a 10 minute break before I had even really started my work for the day, that short time of reflection helped make a very long day at work (total work time: 13.5 hours) bearable.

    Thanks for the posts which encourage, instruct, and inspire!

  12. Scott, this post definitely touches on something that happened with me today. I was headed out early for work and as usual had taken my camera bag with me. On the way out of town, I noticed the lovely way the sun was rising and shining through the morning fog. Despite the prospect of a very long day of work and that any delays would make my workday that much longer, I took the time (slowed down) and stopped to take some photos. After taking 24 images, I packed back up and continued through my day. While it was only about a 10 minute break before I had even really started my work for the day, that short time of reflection helped make a very long day at work (total work time: 13.5 hours) bearable.

    Thanks for the posts which encourage, instruct, and inspire!

  13. 20 August 2008 at 8:07 pm.

    Scott, I could not agree more. I just saw my 5th east coast sunrise this summer.
    I have learned something new each shoot.

    love the show!

  14. 20 August 2008 at 8:07 pm.

    Scott, I could not agree more. I just saw my 5th east coast sunrise this summer.
    I have learned something new each shoot.

    love the show!

  15. Well, for me not to be a lazy photographer, I am about to do the easiest thing, but a new camera! I will be buying my first ever dSLR (or SLR of any kind) as soon as the D90 is released and the prices of the D80 drop (I’ll get a D80). I’ve been using an Olympus 5060 Wide Zoom and have outgrown its abilities.

    For me, if I use a tripod, that usually makes me not be so lazy and really try new things.

    I live in Tokyo so taking photos in public is kind of a common thing, but like one reader commented, I still feel a little bit shy busting out camera (and sometimes tripod) in the city. But not so much anymore.

  16. I did this today with my G9. I cranked up the ISO to 1600 just for the hell of it and was fairly impressed with the results. It’s no D3, but in a pinch…. I have to agree that experimenting like this has been the single most valuable way for me to learn different techniques and how your camera behaves in different conditions.

  17. I completely agree with what Chris Stewart said. I’ve recently begun shooting film, and all I have on my Nikon FM is a 50mm f/1.8. Not being able to zoom in and out really makes you stop and think carefully before you click the shutter.

    The fact that you can only shoot 24 or 36 exposures before you reload helps as well. :-)

  18. I completely agree with what Chris Stewart said. I’ve recently begun shooting film, and all I have on my Nikon FM is a 50mm f/1.8. Not being able to zoom in and out really makes you stop and think carefully before you click the shutter.

    The fact that you can only shoot 24 or 36 exposures before you reload helps as well. :-)

  19. Good reminder, I usually get lazy in the hot summer months when there isn’t much motivation for shooting. I do prefer the sunrise/sunset hour, but I am more likely to get those shots in the winter.

    Thanks for the reminders

  20. Good reminder, I usually get lazy in the hot summer months when there isn’t much motivation for shooting. I do prefer the sunrise/sunset hour, but I am more likely to get those shots in the winter.

    Thanks for the reminders

  21. Using film really jumpstarts my creativity. Also, occasionally on my DSLR I go back to shooting b/w JPG mode – forcing me to really nail the exposure and ‘think in black & white’ as you suggest.

  22. Using film really jumpstarts my creativity. Also, occasionally on my DSLR I go back to shooting b/w JPG mode – forcing me to really nail the exposure and ‘think in black & white’ as you suggest.

  23. […] Week in Photography asks, are you a lazy photographer? Sometimes we can use a wake up call to push ourselves in a new direction. This is that wake up […]

  24. I had a canon a620 (dead now due to accident at the beach… R.I.P.)… It was a point and shoot but I always discovered some other nifty feature I could play with for a few hours if I just looked through the menus. People tell me not to use the B/W mode because you can just use Photoshop to make it B/W, but that’s not as much fun… thinking in B/W as the post suggest is a lot more fun and challenging in some cases.

    Taking awesome photos is great, but I think having a little fun with your camera session while maybe getting a couple of keepers is even better. Completely agree with the post.

  25. I had a canon a620 (dead now due to accident at the beach… R.I.P.)… It was a point and shoot but I always discovered some other nifty feature I could play with for a few hours if I just looked through the menus. People tell me not to use the B/W mode because you can just use Photoshop to make it B/W, but that’s not as much fun… thinking in B/W as the post suggest is a lot more fun and challenging in some cases.

    Taking awesome photos is great, but I think having a little fun with your camera session while maybe getting a couple of keepers is even better. Completely agree with the post.

  26. Sometimes putting the D-SLR away for 2 weeks and shooting JUST with your Point and Shoot is interesting. Resets my perspective somehow.

  27. Sometimes putting the D-SLR away for 2 weeks and shooting JUST with your Point and Shoot is interesting. Resets my perspective somehow.

  28. […] Not to take anything away from Scott Bourne’s post last week on TWIP (“Are You A Lazy Photographer?”, August 20, 2008), I already had plans to get up early yesterday morning to get on the water and […]

  29. […] Not to take anything away from Scott Bourne’s post last week on TWIP (“Are You A Lazy Photographer?”, August 20, 2008), I already had plans to get up early yesterday morning to get on the water and […]

  30. […] lazy bum leaves the lid up and underwear on the floor too … Saved by Dulce on Wed 19-11-2008 Are You A Lazy Photographer? – TWIP Saved by cyanto on Mon 17-11-2008 Stuffed Animals: Friends at any Age Saved by […]

  31. […] lazy bum leaves the lid up and underwear on the floor too … Saved by Dulce on Wed 19-11-2008 Are You A Lazy Photographer? – TWIP Saved by cyanto on Mon 17-11-2008 Stuffed Animals: Friends at any Age Saved by […]

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About scottbourne

Founder of Photofocus.com. Retired traveling and unhooking from the Internet.

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