How I shoot with intent: Setting some personal goals

If you follow my blog, you know I’m always stressing how important it is to know what it is your trying to show before you start shooting. This practice is called shooting with intent. You may ask yourself, “Why is that so important?” For me, it motivates ambition and sparks creativity. Along with allowing your creative eye to be your guide. To shoot with intent means you consider many factors before creating an image. Such as what camera and lense to use, where are the edges of your shot, what auto focus point to use, just to name a few. Putting thought into your photography and not hoping that you’ll “Get lucky” and somehow magically capture the images you want. For me, setting some goals for myself insures I shoot with intent. Let’s talk about goals and how to come up with some of your own.

The only wrong way to come up with goals is to not to have any. It could be as simple as looking for some interesting light or trying some different settings. When it comes to making goals for yourself, you want to state what it is you wish to accomplish, how long you’re giving yourself to do them and ideas on how to meet them. Keep in mind, you’re not writing an essay; simple one liners will do fine. You can keep them on your phone, in a notebook, on the back of a business card, somewhere to keep track of them. And bring them with you every time you venture out. I keep mine on my phone, so I know they’re always with me and I can add to and or edit them wherever I go.

It’s important to be realistic with yourself when making them and that they’re within reach of your skill set. Something that if you push yourself just a bit, you’ll be able to accomplish it. It’s a good idea to set deadlines for them as well. A day, a weekend, a month or a year. Some kind of time frame so you don’t get lazy and procrastinate. The idea is to challenge and expand your creativity, not to overload yourself. If you don’t meet your goals or a deadline passes you by, don’t be hard on yourself. Reset them and try again later. Just don’t give up on them. Follow the links below to see examples of my shooting with intent.

In each instance, I had a clear target to aim for. Some took me longer than others to check off my list, but they kept me focused and actively seeking the images I wanted. It also helped me rediscover my excitement about photography that had been slowly eroding away from doing the same unstimulating routine over and over again. Shooting with intent also help me define my growing style of photography. And after meeting each goal, I have a greater level of satisfaction and fulfillment with my photos. Because of that, I always have a list of ongoing goals to insure I’m shooting with purpose. Here are a few of them.

  • Finding a unique image
  • Interesting light and shadows
  • Sense of speed
  • Sense of aesthetics
  • Strong and interesting composition

Adding some type of goals to your routine can be a healthy challenge to motivate your drive and grow your creativity. Something to guide your creative journey through photography and to start to shoot with purpose. I hope this post shed some light on shooting with intent along with encouraged you to set some goals for you and your photography.

Stay safe and keep busy,

Steven

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New site announcement

Adventure in Awesome: “Hey!? (Searching around) Where did he go? Did he ditch us? Oh man, not again”

Me:(Like Obi-Wan from Revenge of the Sith) “Hello there.”

Adventure in Awesome: “Where have you been? You were posting pretty regularly than you dropped off and now nothing. I got worried.”

Me: “Did you read my Exploring my Creativity series, you know my creative outlets are not limited to writing and photography.”

Adventure in Awesome: “Yeah, I read it. But what does that have to do with you not posting?”

Me: “You know with the Covid-19 Pandemic still going on, traveling and going on new adventures just isn’t possible right now. And since I have a ton of time on my hands and nowhere to go, my creative attention shifted to modelmaking along with spending some time in Photoshop working on some new aviation profiles.

Adventure in Awesome: “I forgot how creative you are. (Enthusiastically interested) I want to see what you’re working on. Where can I find your work? You got a website? Are you on Instagram?

Me: “I do have a website. And it has been occupying a vast majority of my time lately.”

Adventure in Awesome: (quick reply) “How so?”

Me: “My old site sucked. The web service was out of date, poor customer service and I lost a few major pages trying to update it. After that level of frustration, I had enough and quickly switch to a more reputable and reliable web service provider. And the past two weeks, I’ve been building a newer, fresher and more up to date looking site. The domain name just transferred to the new site a short time ago.”

Adventure in Awesome: (super excited) “Cool! What is it? I can’t wait to go and check it out!”

Me: (rapid sound of keys being pressed on keyboard) “Click on the banner and enjoy!”

far148studiobanner

Like I said, the domain name just transferred.  I’ve noticed on while cellular service on my mobile device, it goes to my old site but if I switch to WiFi, it goes straight to my new site. The cellular networks should catch up soon. You can also keep up with what I’m working on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/far148studio/

Adventure in Awesome: So Dope! I’m definitely going to start to follow you on the gram. Thanks for the update!

 

Until next post, stay safe and keep busy!

Steven

Elements of Art in Photography

As we learn more about photography, we come to realize that there is a lot more going on then just point and shoot. At some point, we seek out images from professionals to see what we’re doing wrong. And to our shock, we got a lot to learn about line, color, texture, form, space, symmetry, repetition along with composition. Features that has been helping artist communicate their ideas to viewers for centuries. Those features are called the Elements of Art. When properly used, they can help your audience understand what it is you’re trying to show. They are scores of helpful information online as well as plenty of books on the subject. When I’m behind my camera, I’m always conscious of what it is I’m trying to show and what elements I can incorporate into my images. Of all the elements, here are seven that I frequently use.

  • Line – A perceived route guiding your viewers eyes through an image.
  • Color – Red, yellow, blue, green, purple along with every other color.
  • Form – The shape of an object or subject.
  • Symmetry & Asymmetry – Visually the same or different from side to side.
  • Scale – The size of an object in relation to another.
  • Composition – The creative placement of your subject in an image.
  • Quality of light – How intense the light illuminates your subject.

I want to share with you examples of how I’ve managed to incorporate the elements of art listed above into my photos. I like to use line to guide the viewer’s eyes to the intended subject. It could be literally or implied and gives me the opportunity to play with composition. Since most of the western world reads from the left to the right, I want the viewers eyes the travel in the same direction.

Taillight red, Windex blue, strawberry ice cream pink, sunflower yellow or army man green, all colors we know exactly what they look like. Color can change the mood or feeling of an image, it can be vibrant and full of life and can even stir up some emotions. Along with composition, you can emphasize your subjects to make a bold statement.

Living in a 3-D world, everything we see has some form to it. But to find and capture one that is visually appealing, that’s another story. I feel one must have a special attention to detail and a focused sense of aesthetics to properly capture a beautiful form. Like sensual curves of a posing woman or the sharply chiseled body side of a 2020 Corvette.

Symmetry is probably the most used element in photography and is easy to integrate into your photos. Like the use of line, symmetry can be implied. A reflection off water or some other reflective surface can be used to imply symmetry. I find asymmetrical images more appealing than symmetrical ones. And are usually composed more complex and I feel makes for a stronger image. Just composing your subjects asymmetrically, can be just enough imbalance to attract your viewers eyes.

Giving your viewers a sense of scale can clearly capture how small or large things are. It’s a dramatic effect that help establish a presence of an object or person. Like the towering height of an NBA player to an admiring fan or the unimaginable width of a sequoia to a nature lover. And the greater the contrast, the better.

I’ve always felt that having a strong and interesting composition is important in my photography. And I tend to shy away from composing my subjects dead center and lend toward the more appealing Rule of Thirds. Along with if I can see the horizon within the frame, I try not to place it in the center. There’s no one right way to compose a photo. It’s up to you, the photographer, to visualize how to creatively arrange details in your images.

Since we’re talking about photography, I feel it is valuable to add quality of light to this discussion. Just like all the elements of art, it can change the look, the mood as well as the overall presents of your photos. It can be soft and gentle or strong and contrasting. There’s an infinite number of ways to show off light, you just must go out and discover it. Since my love affair with photography began, I still chase the light to this day.

The Elements of Art are not limited to the ones I mentioned here. Nor are they limited to how I use them. Experiment with them for yourself and find ones you like. Use them frequently and nurture your creative eye.

 

Until next time,

Steven