finding balance (photo)

Or maybe the word needs to be “joy” or possibly “fun”… No! Playful! That’s it!

Interacting with others during a photoshoot, I can often find that sense of “fun” and “play”. But taking my own photos lately has really been summed up as “chore”.

Not a very inspiring word, right? (But then again, maybe chores are a joyful thing for you! If so, let me know… I’m happy to allow you find some joyful chores at my place.)

Getting out of a rut

I recently went to a conference (non-photography related) that suggested that when we get into a rut doing something the same way over and over, we can lose the joy we may have found in the past. But when we find ways to inject a sense of play into whatever it is, we can find our excitement, our inspiration again.

This thought really struck me. Sure, I take photos of my girls. I do the things I suggest to others – I move around, stand on top of something or way down low or left or right to change my perspective. But I’m not doing it with a sense of fun and excitement – I’m doing it because I just want to make sure I capture that moment and look like a professional.

Often, I’m removing myself from whatever I’m photographing and just taking snapshots (often with my phone) in an attempt to capture what? The “moment” I’m not really involved in? How uninspiring is that?!? (Don’t get me wrong, snapshots are definitely worthwhile, but when you’re using them as an excuse to pull back, it needs some closer examination.)

So I’ve been considering what this means: to play with my photography. I have some thoughts, but I almost don’t want to share. Not so much because I don’t want you to know, but rather because I don’t want to point you in a particular way or skew your idea of what “play” means in this context.

Instead, though, I’m going to give you some of the things I’ll consider as I head into this “assignment”. But before I do, why don’t you close your eyes for a moment and consider all the aspects of what finding joy or ways that you can be more playful in your photography

Go ahead. Close your eyes! Okay…. I’m going to close mine and then share my thoughts.

And please! Feel free to share yours on Facebook or here in the comments. …… Ways I feel I may be able to inject PLAYFULNESS into my photos:

  • Get involved with whatever is going on – be a part of it and take a photo of the part that makes me SMILE or LAUGH! Even if the point of the photo is missed by everyone, it’s something that speaks to ME!
  • Jump on the trampoline before I go out and shoot. ESPECIALLY if I’m not really in the mood. Or maybe I’ll dance. Or skip. Or put on a silly hat. Something that gets me out of my head! Makes me realize that I don’t need to be taking all this so gosh darn seriously!
  • Find things that perplex me, crack me up, confound me, confuse me and take a photo. Play with angles, locations, see if I can capture the FEEL of what I’m shooting. And if I lose it – I lose that interest, I STOP right then.
  • Play with the settings on my camera and do something completely different. (Okay, admittedly, if you have a camera phone, this may be tougher, but try doing something like spinning in low light and taking a photo. Should be interesting!) Slow shutter speed, fast shutter speed, adjust the light to be bright where you wouldn’t expect, create shapes and shadows….
  • Edit in a new, interesting, fun way without regard to who is going to see it. Those of you on phones can really take advantage of this with all the cool apps! Maybe we can share our favorite apps sometime?

Remember, this isn’t about the PHOTO.

It’s about the PROCESS of enjoying the photo and the moment.

While the photo taken in this way may be good, it may just as likely be bad or boring. (For the record, this is just as much a reminder for me as it is for you, dear reader.)

Because I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while, I have taken a few photos with this in mind. (And I plan to do more over the weekend.) So I thought I’d share my thoughts on them.

Photo at the top of this post – Balance or Propped

We get a lot of snow here in Crested Butte and when things melt, you find the most interesting things. In this shot in my backyard (literally), my neighbor had a ladder that ended up getting hooked under the siding and propped across the top of her handlebars and is about 2′ above the ground on the other end of the ladder.

I didn’t have the right lens to capture the whole ladder, but decided to do the shot anyway – for some reason, it amused and interested me. While the image may not be “star quality”, it’s fun and illustrates some of the ideas I’m trying to incorporate into a different process….

 Don’t Fence Me In

I love photos with movement. In my previous post with the photo at the bottom as well as with the image above, I just wanted to play around with movement.

I feel that this gives some great graphical interest. Plus, it’s just plain fun to twist, move and swirl around trying to capture something new and unique! It’s usually unexpected and it’s often really interesting. I love this photo! You?

What are your thoughts?

Are you going to be joining me? What are you considering trying to do to have fun with your photos? What are your thoughts on these two shots? (And no worries – you can’t hurt my feelings!! It’s okay if you don’t like them. LOL!)

See you early next week with some more photos and some more thoughts!

One thought on “Play

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