We all know the turning over of a new year is full of promise, goals and resolutions and I want to do what I can to help give a little push to anyone that might need it. Because becoming a better photographer is one of your 2023 goals, right? 🦾
In this 7 part mini-series which I'll be releasing periodically over the coming couple of weeks, I'll break down in a quick and concise way the core of what I believe can help any photographer become a more wise and seasoned pro out on the streets as we'll cover everything from the obvious like gear and settings to things less obvious but equally important such as mindset. In no way, is this complete and you might read this and think I have no idea what I'm talking about but this is just my thoughts after 7 years of working the streets with a camera and an endless obsession of study and learning from various sources and people. So take it for what it is 😊
Needless to say that before embarking on anything in life your approach and mental mindset will be what sets the tone and in my opinion make the biggest difference to your results. Photography is no different here and before we can even attempt to talk about the HOW in terms of what gear and settings we use, we need to understand our WHAT and our WHY.
Having a good understanding of your purpose will go a long way in maximizing your time out on the streets. Is it ok to wander around aimlessly pointing your camera at anything you find interesting hoping to get a good shot here and there? For sure and when you’re starting out without an idea of what interests you in terms of subject matter that’s totally normal. But with purpose we can be efficient and you’re here because you want to level up your street photo game so my number one advice would be to be clear on what you want to achieve before going out and then when you ARE out there to get in the ZONE!
So what’s the ZONE? Well, lets break it down like this. Your mindset can take on a few states but to keep it simple we’ll narrow it down to three.
In the Zone
NEGATIVE - A negative mindset is as it implies. You’re cranky, you had a fight with your friend or lover that morning or you’re just having one of those someone pissed in your cereal kind of days. Take that mindset out onto the streets and guess what? Chances are that you’ll come home with a bunch of bad shots and none the happier.
ENGAGED - Now, an engaged mindset is when you’re feeling it. You feel good and you see plenty to shoot but hey, why don’t I check on how that post I did this morning is doing. And while I’m there let me respond to a few DM’s. Oh and I’ve been out for an hour already and got some good shots, maybe I’ll go take a break in a cafe for a bit before heading out. You see, when you’re engaged the potential for greatness is there but you’re letting your mind wander in too many directions. I’m going to take a guess and say that the majority of us go out shooting in this state of mind.
IN THE ZONE - Now this is some Michael Jordan Game 6 ’98 NBA finals vs the Utah Jazz kind of state. There is nothing that can distract you and this is as close to zen meditation out on the streets as you can get. You are one with your environment and all 5 senses are engaged. This is where the masters of photography have spent their time in creating the worlds most inspirational works and this is where each and everyone of us should aspire to be whenever we go out to shoot. Realistically, this is not a switch you can just turn off and on nor is it something we can give a quick fix solution to. But being mindful of staying well away from a NEGATIVE mindset and keeping distractions to a minimum with an ENGAGED mindset and we can start to have those days where we truly feel IN THE ZONE. In simple terms, learn to quiet the mind.
What I can say is the less time spent thinking about anything other than taking great photos the closer you can get to this state of mind. This includes the HOW, which we talk about later on this course such as knowing your camera and gear inside and out as well as correct setting you can change on the fly. The old adage stays true here, practice makes perfect so there is no substitute for going out and shooting as often as possible. I know this is a photograph blog but again on Jordan, listen to what he has to say about practice in this video below. It applies to anything we do in life.
So while our first step here is having a clear understanding of our WHAT and WHY when we combine this with our HOW we can get closer to this state of photographic nirvana where we are truly IN THE ZONE.
Next post, DAY 2 - GEAR ... stay tuned and thanks for reading. I'd love to hear your comments or questions below so hit me up.
LASTLY, if you are looking for a photography coach for a couple of hours or longer I'm doing tours and photography lessons / workshops in Tokyo. Please visit https://www.denizdemir.photos/street-photography-workshop and send a message through my contact form on the site or directly to email@example.com
Thanks for reading!