If you look through my portfolio on here or at my Instagram, it’s pretty obvious I rarely shoot in the dark. There’re multiple reasons: I work until 9, 9:30, then I’m hungry, then it’s 11pm and I’m in my apartment full of food being my most common excuse. Usually when I am out after dark it’s because I’m with people. People have plans. People get fed up of me stopping to take pictures of things. I usually want to hang out more than I want the photo anyway. Being dreadful at shooting in the dark is my number one thing to fix at the moment. Second being dreadful at portraits – more on that later I’m sure. So, when Cody invited me out shooting, I happily went along.
Buying gear gives me a headache. Whenever I need to buy something or replace something it does my head in and I almost never buy anything. It’s easy for me to visualise my camera as a necessary part of my day to day life. I can’t do that with any other item I own – maybe my glasses or fitbit or this watch my parents bought me before I moved to Japan. Buying a new camera is annoying, but fortunately something I rarely have to do. It’s also easier. I know what I want. I know what I need. My current source of frustration is my bag. I’ve had it for five years. It used to be waterproof. The coffee stained pages in the bottom of it tell me I need a new one. I’ve since picked up probably 15 bags in different stores since I realised that. They all went back on the shelf. I’m not interested in bags.
Sometimes I get weirdly into those ‘my camera bag’ posts. I’m always interested in what people feel is necessary to make a photo and why they always have it. I don’t think the camera is particularly important – DSLR, mirrorless, compact, iPhone, whatever, it’s all good. A camera is a given. I know a lot of people love their gear and a lot of people don’t give a shit about it. Here’s what I take when I go out to shoot.
The last two years I’ve printed a collection of photos from the year for my nan. Last year she got about 20 A4 size prints on the second best quality paper Staples have. I put them in a project wallet I bought in the pound shop and gave them to her on Christmas day. She can see them online – my parents can easily show her pictures on their phones or computer. For her though, I always want to put the paper in her hand. It feels more real.
I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing most of the time. I was asked the other day how I get my pictures to look a certain way. I couldn’t give close to the answer the asker or myself really wanted. I have next to no idea what I’m doing. I’m okay with that. I’m also not okay with that. I know what I like doing. I know why I like doing it. I know I’ll keep doing it until I don’t want to do it anymore. I know my camera pretty well and I know the effect of the handful of Lightroom sliders I use. The deep, underlying qualities of the camera settings and sliders though – nope.
A major contributing factor to my photography adventure so far has been that it can be done entirely alone. When I was younger, playing football or playing in bands, I needed other people. I never really enjoyed playing music by myself and I was certainly never good enough to write anything of my own.
I’ve always wanted the perfect ‘workflow’ and I think I’m finally edging towards what works best for me. Over the last two years it’s changed so many times I couldn’t have told you where anything was. At the start of January this year it involved a camera, laptop, iPad, iPhone, Lightroom, Lightroom Mobile, and Flickr. My Lightroom had around 30 collections and a total 9000 photos. I’m not even sure how to explain what was going on every time I plugged in my SD card.