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Rising to the Challenge of the Unexpected

September 23, 2015 11:27 am

One of the keys to being a successful photographer is the ability to think on your feet and adapt to the situation. Sometimes your chosen location doesn’t live up to your expectations, but that doesn’t mean you should scrap an entire planned shoot, nor can you afford to when you’ve packed up your camera, lenses and gear. When you’re shooting outside the studio, you can’t always control the environment, but you can learn to work with it and rise to the challenge of the unexpected change in plans.

Remain flexible

When you show up at a location expecting to shoot one thing and find that your chosen building has been demolished or your empty streets are full of people, it’s vital that you remain flexible and adapt to the situation. If the streets are crowded, shoot the buildings and if your chosen building is missing or not as you expected, seek out a different subject matter. You can’t change a place into something it’s not, but you can change your interpretation of it and create a new story that goes in a different direction than your original plan.

Change perspective

Although you might have set out with the intention of shooting broad landscape photos, you need to prepare yourself for less than ideal conditions that make such shots impossible. When faced with such a challenge, change your perspective and get up close and personal with a different subject matter instead of stepping back for sweeping shots. By getting up close to objects and even down on the ground with them, you find interesting new miniature landscapes filled with flowers, animals and intricate textures. Prepare for this change in plans by bringing your macro lens for up close shots.

Embrace emotions

It’s easy to feel disappointment and discouragement when your chosen location or subject matter doesn’t live up to your expectations. Rather than completely abandoning those emotions, embrace them and find something in the scene that reflects how you’re feeling. When the location feels emptier and less interesting than you were hoping, focus on photographing the negative space and finding interesting aspects in it. If the scenery isn’t as colorful as you had hoped, try shooting in black and white to add depth and richness without the distraction of hues that don’t fit the scene. Embracing your emotions about the location opens up a new level of creativity and helps you express yourself fully through your work.

Play with settings

When it’s not a professional shoot where you need to capture a particular image, use the opportunity to play with the settings on your camera and experiment with different techniques. Although this trial and error time may lend many shots you’ll end up deleting, it serves as an important learning experience as you explore your creativity and adaptability to unexpected situations. If you’ve been dying to explore the underused features on your camera, now is the time to do so as it will give you a deeper understanding of your equipment and the capabilities of your lenses, flashes, etc.

As a photographer, you’re going to find yourself in locations that don’t live up to your expectations, but with the ability to adapt to change and see the potential in previous disappointment, you can always capture images so good, no one will know they weren’t your original plan. Reveal the true magic of those photographs with digital printing and unique mounting options from Baboo Digital.

Featured image by JulieAnn Corbin