by Ibarionex Perello
© Ibarionex Perello
All rights reserved
The process of learning photography and taking better pictures is about more than mastering the workings of a camera. It’s about seeing and discovering what elements make for a great image and what things weaken or detract from one.
We learn about lighting, composition, color and contrast and practice until we can make snap judgments in the instant between bringing the camera to our eye and depressing the shutter release button. It’s not an easy thing to learn to do, but practicing by taking picture after picture helps us to develop that skill.
What comes along with this are the “rules” that we feel that we must follow to create a successful image. Rules such as keeping the horizon straight, exposing for the highlights or using a tripod are all things that can help ensure that the images that you make can be as good as they can possibly be.
But if your experience is anything like mine, I can take these same rules and use them against myself. Instead of seeing these rules as things that help improve my images, I can use them as excuses for not taking the pictures in the first place.
I was recently shooting some concert images in a club in Hollywood. The music was fantastic and the performers were full of energy, offering some exciting possibilities when it comes to making photographs. Unfortunately, the lighting wasn’t great. Though it may have satisfied the needs of the performers, it made things especially difficult for a photographer.
To get a decent shutter speed even with my f/2.8 zoom lenses wide open, I still had to raise the camera’s ISO to 1600. This only gave me a shutter speed of between 1/90 to 1/125 second, not ideal for capturing sharp images of a lead singer who moved across the stage as if he owned it.
There would have been a time when I would have given up and said that I can’t shoot this. The light is too low. My images will be blurry. There will be too much noise with the high ISO. This venue doesn’t fit the bill for what I know I need to produce consistently good shots.
That was all true, but I shot anyway.
I steadied myself as best I could and tried to capture those in-between moments when the singer or the members of the band were at the peak moment of a gesture or movement. I set my ISO to 1600, despite the presence of noise, because I wanted to have the fast shutter speed that I knew I would need to get a sharp result. I shot anyway even though I knew the circumstances weren’t ideal and that I wasn’t adhering to all the rules that I had learned over the years.
The result was many blurred and underexposed images. But along with those, I got some fantastic shots that despite the challenges that I faced, thrilled me, including the one that you see here.
Rules are good. They definitely will help you to make better photographs. But never allow them to keep you from taking the picture. Allow yourself to try and shoot anyway. You’ll never realize what magic may happen unless you bring the camera to your eye and shoot.
If there is any rule of photography that you should always live by, it should be the simplest one: keep shooting.