Copyright Scott Bourne 2010 - All Rights Reserved

You want to shoot but you’re out of your element. Maybe on you’re on vacation with the family and for some reason they don’t want to schedule everything around sunrise or sunset. Or maybe you’re on a quick business trip and the ugly, cheap hotel your boss makes you stay in doesn’t exactly trip your trigger. It is easy to find yourself in situations that don’t make it easy. You are on the road but you don’t have the circumstances you need to make a great shot. So change the circumstances.

Professional photographers understand this all too well. The bride wants to get married when the sun is straight up overhead at Noon. The location director thinks the “cool” brick wall would make a great backdrop. Whatever, whenever, professionals get paid to make the shot, not complain about their circumstances. If they need better light or backgrounds for instance – they just make it.

You can do this too – and beyond. It just requires a positive attitude, some creativity and a willingness to work a bit harder.

If you’re somewhere that simply offers nothing exciting to shoot, try switching to macro. Give me any city in America – and a one block radius to work in town and I can find hundreds of macro shots. Everything from textures, to insects to flowers – you name it.

Here’s another idea – learn how to improve lighting using “subtractive” lighting. Instead of adding light to a scene that needs fill, subtract it from any two sides – which automatically makes the open area away from those two sides the new main light source.

Experiment with any or all of these ideas – try pan blurs or zoom blurs. Use colored filters on your lenses. Use HDR. Try shooting from a ladder or from ground level. Shoot at night. Borrow props from nearby locations. Plan ahead and do a meetup – try to convince a model who needs portfolio shots to come down and pose for you or a bunch of other photographers to liven things up. Try renting or borrowing new gear to give you a new approach.

I’ve been shooting a long time, in all sorts of locations under all sorts of weather in all sorts of light. I’ve very rarely been completely shut out. All it takes is a new way of thinking and you can succeed.

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