This may seem a strange suggestion and it is one that normally gets some very quizical looks from people at my workshops when I first mention it. But let me say first that it is great to see the pleasure and the pride many have in their camera and its operation. I have been there myself many times, especially in the early days when it took a long time to save for a Nikon. I still get a buzz when a new camera comes along, but of course over the years having used so many, its no longer quite the same for me.

But my tip today is simple. You probably need to use your camera so much and become so familiar with it, that if anything, it becomes a little boring. What I mean by that is a pro or serious enthusiast solely looking to create great images needs to be able to concentrate on just that. So you need time to communicate with people, be aware of the light and concentrate on composition for example. Too many photographers can be distracted however by camera controls and menu options when in reality these should be pretty seamless to operate, and as close to a sub conscious thing as you can get it. So much so in fact, that a camera is as some have put it an extension of you, not a barrier between you and your subject. That only comes with lots of practice with the camera till it becomes second nature to operate.

An example would be that I can operate my cameras in very low light when its not possible to see buttons and controls simply because I know where they are without looking.

I also find that such familiarity frees the mind, so you are more likely to notice that cigarette on the floor or that hair out of place. You are then more likely to capture what Henri Cartier-Bresson called “the decisive moment”.

End. (20/07/09).