Often times, one of the most commonly reported hurdles for photography is time, which I’m sure you’ve been tight on as well! As a busy medical student, my schedule can be quite chaotic at times. Nonetheless, I find, or rather prioritize, time to go shoot! There are many reasons I can make this happen and today I’ll share 5 tips that may help you do this as well.
1. Specifically schedule photography into your planner
One of the easiest ways to make sure you have time to do anything in life is to make an active effort to include them into your schedule. I often do this for the gym, reading the news, or even to watch my favorite TV shows. So why not for photography?
As you first start incorporating photography into your schedule, don’t go crazy! Try adding an hour or two per week for starters and then slowly ramp up. In that hour, just let your mind explore and begin utilizing the remainder of the tips below.
2. Find subjects to photograph nearby
As the world of social media picks up, we are bombarded with beautiful destination after destination. I remember feeling that I needed to travel to exotic destinations for photographs when this is simply not true. I strongly believe the opposite – the most unique images you will make will be of the environment around you. Additionally, finding a nearby location will allow you to maximize the photography time and limit the travel time.
Once you’ve penciled in that time for photography, it’s important to research and find some areas nearby that are relatively easy to visit and have the potential for great photographs. Currently, my favorite way of doing this is to use Google Maps (satellite mode) and to scour Instagram/Flickr. Stay tuned – in the near future I’ll share some of my favorite spots near Portland, OR.
3. Harness that creativity from within
So you’ve scheduled photography time AND found some nearby locations – now it’s time to spark that creative mind of yours. If you follow the first two tips, you’ll often find yourself visiting similar locations multiple times. When I initially did this, I remember thinking that I’ve photographed all I can from a single location but that is almost never the case.
For example, you may love photographing a specific park. Well that park will look extremely different based on the season (ex. fall vs. winter), time of day (ex. sunrise, sunset, mid-day, blue hour, etc), and even the subjects within them! Based on those combinations alone, the same composition can be shot in dozens of different ways. Now add in your creativity and ability to use leading lines, textures, foreground elements, etc and you have so many more opportunities. Thus, don’t ever think a location is maxed out.
On the images below, I found myself at the same location during two different seasons. Similar composition yet totally different image!
4. Predict for good conditions using TECHNOLOGY
Another excellent way to ensure you give yourself the best chance for making amazing photographs is to plan and predict. This is done best by using technology and apps to see how the weather and light will affect a certain location. My favorite apps to use are the weather apps on my iPhone, The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) with Skyfire, and Photo Pills.
Let’s use an example – suppose on a given week I have two mornings available. Now I could randomly select Tuesday and Friday OR I can sit down and check the weather. Maybe it’s raining on Friday so now I decide on Tuesday and Thursday. After that, I can check TPE’s wonderful Skyfire tool and Photo Pills to help me predict when clouds and the sun will be at their best. When its all said and done, I have now selected two mornings to go shoot that also have the best predictive chance of success. Granted, the apps can be wrong but over time, statistically, it should work in our favor.
5. Save editing for later – just go shoot
This is one that I DEFINITELY struggled with for quite some time. I am the kind of person who needs to get one thing done before started another. Thus, I would often only go shooting if I had completed editing the photos from my previous outing. This made sense, in theory, until I realized that I was foregoing shooting in amazing conditions (ex. great Skyfire predictions or beautiful foggy morning) and instead sitting at home editing. Then when I had completed editing and was ready to shoot again, the conditions outside were less than ideal.
Thus, every chance you have, go shooting instead of editing. There will always be time to edit photos and you can do them later as well – they aren’t going anywhere!
So there are the 5 Tips I use most often to ensure I am able to get out there despite a busy schedule! These tips also ensure that when I do go out, I have given myself the best chance of success. Hopefully you can make use of some of these tips and feel free to let me know of any questions, comments, queries, and all the rest at any time!