Beyond The Campfire was created to encourage readers to explore the great outdoors and to observe it close up. Get out and take a hike, go fishing or canoeing, or simply stretch out on a blanket under a summer sky...and take your camera along. We'll talk about combining outdoor activities with photography. We'll look at everything from improving your understanding of the basics of photography to more advanced techniques including things like how to see photographically and capturing the light. We'll explore the night sky, location shoots, using off camera speedlights along with nature and landscape. Grab your camera...strap on your hiking boots...and join me. I think you will enjoy the adventure.

The Dark Horse Region

The Dark Horse Region
A View into the center of the Milky Way

Friday, February 18, 2011

The I's Have It

In most of the blog entries I've mostly written about this or that and maybe try this or that, but I've not actually said much about a methodology that can be used to help point the aspiring photographer toward bigger and better output.  So how do you go about developing the concepts or ideas that I've written about.  Well, everyone develops their own style of doing things and most of us work through those learning curves at our own pace.  Even so, there is a methodology I've used that can help a novice photographer take progressive steps toward more production photographically.  I call it  'The I Method'.

The I Method consists of six related concepts that progressively guides a novice photographer toward creating innovative photographs.

1.   Idea  
 2. Instinct
 3. Identify
4. Isolate
5. Invest
6. Inspire

Let's look at each one.

Idea:  Before you can truly take charge of your photography you should formulate an idea of what you want to accomplish.  Having a purpose for your photography helps you focus on not only the techniques and concepts of exposure, composition, and post processing, but helps you develop a vision.  With a vision of where you want to go, you will more likely find the enthusiasm required to get there.  Going at the craft of photography by simply relying on random I've said before...all you are accomplishing is playing the notes, when in reality what you are wanting to do is create wonderful music with emotion and feeling.

Instinct:  All of us possess our own preferences and interests.  By tapping into those interests, you will find it easier to become motivated to follow through.  Use your instincts to help you focus in where your stated purpose for your photography will take you.  If you instinctively enjoy sports, then maybe sports related photography may be the angle you should take.  If you enjoy nature, then nature photography might be a good directions.  If you are good with people and kids, then portrait and/or people photography could be a solution.  Go with your instincts and most of the time you will not be disappointed.

Identify:  Once you have formulated an Idea, now comes the time to do some research.  Identify potential opportunities for you to follow through with your idea.  If sports is you where you want to go, then check out local sporting events that may allow you access to the fields.  If people photography, then check out local or community events where you might be able to photograph performers or take candid shots.  Practice with your own kids, or the neighbors kids.  Identify as many opportunities as you can and then follow up on them.

Isolate:  Once you have an idea and have identified potential opportunities, it is probably a good idea to isolate specific things to focus in on.  Some ideas are very broad and to avoid being overwhelmed, it often helps to decide that this day or this week, I will concentrate on only one aspect of that idea.  Take the sports idea for instance.  There may be numerous high school and even college sporting venues going on along with little league or development leagues.  Pick one of the easier venues and give it a try...not just once or twice, but over a period of time to develop skill and technique.  Afterwards, you may want to branch out to a more advance situation.  The idea here is to focus your efforts into a manageable opportunity.

Invest:  There is no substitute for time afield.  Simply having an idea is not must allocate time to follow through with it.  Time afield also means to invest time researching...finding those opportunities...looking for potential locations or venues, then planning ahead to take advantage of them.  Look beyond the obvious when doing this...and always factor in lighting conditions.  What you see visually at the time you find a location may change dramatically with different light at different times of try to visualize what a location will look like in different lighting conditions.

Inspire:  There is a difference between capturing simple memories and creating an image that inspires.  Inspiration comes from the heart and is often triggered by a creative vision.  When photographing nature, always think in terms of inspiring your viewer...not illustrating a text book.  Light is the key to generating those inspirational moments...Inspirational moments are often visualized by looking beyond the obvious...Looking beyond the obvious requires that you develop your unique vision and purpose for your photography.  Seeking to inspire is the engine that elevates your photography to the next level.

The idea behind the I's is to help establish a methodology that will guide you toward developing your own unique style of photography.  It's not an all inclusive stepping stone approach...just something to get you thinking differently about what you might be doing...and that after what this blog is all about.


1 comment:

Jenn said...

Thanks for writing this! I'll be re-reading this to help me on my photography journey!