Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

Pearls of Photographic Wisdom

I remember when I got my first camera, a 126 cartridge Kodak, my dad gave me my first shooting advice: Make sure the sun is at your back, and hold your breath before hitting the shutter. I still do that today.

Since then, I’ve come up with some of my own bits of wisdom to remember when shooting.

  • Look behind you!
    This mental exercise is designed to remind myself to step away from the crowd, look in the other direction, and generally remember to not just shoot the obvious. Sometimes you’re rewarded with a fabulous moment.
  • Growl like a tiger!
    When you’re shooting someone and they’re just sitting there looking uncomfortable, say “Growl like a tiger!” The subject will either actually do it or crack up laughing – either way, you get a true emotion instead of a fake smile. It even works on dogs.
  • Keep shooting!
    This one’s simple math – the more shots you take, the better chance there’ll be something decent in there. And now, thanks to digital SLRs and cheap compact flash, you really can just keep shooting.

Do you have any pearls of photographic wisdom? Share them in the JPG Group!


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Hi, I’m Derek. I make awesome community-centric web stuff. I sometimes post things to Flickr and Twitter. I’m mostly harmless. More.





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