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Simon Says -- SimonSawSunlight Photo Technique From time to time its been suggested that RFF have a mentor Photography help section in terms of Technique - how to shoot this or that. 1st of all I had to find someone whose work I really like. 2ndly that photog had to be willing help others. That's the catch: so many excellent photogs just are not wiling to make the time for that, or just as likely, simply don't give a damn about helping others. SimonSawSunlight is an excellent up and coming photog whose work seems to go well beyond his 24 years.

You can view Simon's work at http://www.simonbephotography.com/  and www.facebook.com/simonbphotography Simon has been published in in FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), LFI (Leica Fotografie International) and more recently in Radiate Magazine. He also recently had a large solo-exhibition in Berlin. Not too Shabby! So, let us begin this adventure and see where it goes. Thank for taking this on Simon!


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Shoot first, think later. Or not?
Old 05-29-2013   #1
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Shoot first, think later. Or not?

Hi Simon,

today I read a post on the forum which contained this link to a small video with Henry Wessel and the importance of being aware while taking photo's.

http://youtu.be/Myf0IJ7YCRU


Wessel is a strong advocate of 'Shoot first, think later'. His take on photography is that once you stop and consider, the mind gets in the way and spoils the image that could have been.

It got me curious on your opinion, since I saw a direct link to your earlier 'Shooting under the influence' thread.

Meanwhile I hope Istanbul is everything you hoped it to be and gets you more great shots (shot first, thought later, or not?)
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Old 05-29-2013   #2
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It's hard to disagree...when his photographs are about as perfect as they could be.

FYI: There is another little video about shooting from his car and maybe a couple of others as well.
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Old 05-29-2013   #3
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Generally a good principle, though I'd modify it to when in doubt shoot first, etc. If there's time to think; well, then there's time to think.

Of course, it's entirely legitimate to say that you always have to think to some extent -- at the very least, about whether to press the shutter release or not -- but at that point, "when in doubt" works too.

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Old 05-29-2013   #4
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I didn't want to agree with him at first but he makes a good argument on missing the original image (the thing that caught your eye) if you think too long and adjust before tripping the shutter...
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Old 05-29-2013   #5
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I find that when I hold my camera to my eye I have a better idea of what the ultimate image will look like and use this in deciding if (or when) to press the shutter button. Maybe a statement of the bleeding obvious but maybe its not so obvious. So I stand about with the camera raised, looking thru the finder and maybe not taking images for quite some time. I was surprised when I first started doing this at just how much easier it is to predict the outcome when I shoot this way. Of course its a bit faster too as you do not need to raise the camera and compose at least not to the same extent. I kind of have a feeling when the elements of an image comes together about how well the image may look. Of course if does not always achieve this - sometimes for technical reasons (like shutter speed or focus) and sometimes something just goes wrong (in street shooting most usually this is because someone walks in front of the emerging picture just as I am about to fire).

Is that shoot first think later? In one sense no (I do think about how the image will look before firing) and in another sense yes (when that pattern of image components comes togther into a nice arrangement I usually dont think, I just observe and shoot almost by instinct).
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Old 05-29-2013   #6
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I think Winogrand made a similar point when he said that if he sees something that looks like a photo in the viewfinder, he will do something to change it.
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Old 05-29-2013   #7
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Shoot first, think later, even if there is time to think.

In almost every sequence of shots I make of a subject, the first one is the keeper. It's then when the shot happens. No matter in how much effort I put into getting everything perfect in the subsequent ones, they all miss that magic of the moment..
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Old 05-30-2013   #8
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I think first, and want to think more. My ideal kind of photography is heading out to the wilds with a 4x5, or maybe medium format camera, and take my time over a few sheets or 1 or 2 rolls.

I like the idea of thinking about all the factors, taking the shot and being happy with the results.

Of course, if you're doing street or sports or something, then you may well not have time for all that.
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Old 05-30-2013   #9
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...well, as long as the pics are good...
I for one take any sort of busty photographer statement as self-advertisement.
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Old 05-30-2013   #10
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He's a very talented man trying to express something tht can't be put into words. Most of us doing what he does would end up with a load of rubbish with the very occasional gem.
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Old 05-30-2013   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thegman View Post
My ideal kind of photography is heading out to the wilds with a 4x5, or maybe medium format camera, and take my time over a few sheets or 1 or 2 rolls.


Of course, if you're doing street or sports or something, then you may well not have time for all that.
I'm glad someone has clarified what type of photography they're discussing. Shooting on instinct, reaction and so on may be, as we're debating, preferable for some instances but I'd rather have some thought go into a portrait of me or a landscape I'd like to hang on my wall.

In my experience, in terms of street type shots, I find shooting first and thinking later often gets you 'the' shot but thinking moments after that initial shot may lead to a far better shot. Do they have to be exclusive of one another?
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Old 05-30-2013   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henri klein View Post
...well, as long as the pics are good...
I for one take any sort of busty photographer statement as self-advertisement.
Certain forms of self-advertisement by busty photographers do not necessarily strike me as sounding altogether unappealing, though.
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Old 05-30-2013   #14
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I tend to do that most of the time.
As an aside ,I`ve always liked Wessel .
Doesn`t seem to get the exposure for some reason.
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Old 05-30-2013   #15
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Trusting your instinct is important even when shooting still life scenes or landscapes. I'll often set the camera up on a tripod or get into a particular position in relation to what I'm going to photograph and then I'll bugger about trying different perspectives to see if I can improve what I'm seeing in the viewfinder. I almost invariably go back to where I started!
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Old 05-30-2013   #16
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The question could be: why not? And the answer would be: because of the law, dude!
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Old 05-30-2013   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
Trusting your instinct is important even when shooting still life scenes or landscapes. I'll often set the camera up on a tripod or get into a particular position in relation to what I'm going to photograph and then I'll bugger about trying different perspectives to see if I can improve what I'm seeing in the viewfinder. I almost invariably go back to where I started!
Perhaps what you call buggering about is what I call Deep Thought? Unfortunately that doesn't say much for me
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Old 05-30-2013   #18
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I was lucky enough to have some free time to photograph last week and was feeling irritated with myself every time I saw something, but only thought to snap after the moment was gone. I think there's a zen like state of mind that I need to reach to snap on sight, maybe the less I think, the more likely I am to capture what I see.
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Old 05-30-2013   #19
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I get more keepers when I am out with my wife. She's not too pleased I've brought a camera, and she certainly does not want me to stop for any time or at all if we are headed down the street. The pressure necessitates quick decisions. Three of four pictures included in this weeks Gallery picks were on our trip out to lunch on Sunday.
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Shoot first, think later.
Old 05-30-2013   #20
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Shoot first, think later.

For documentary, reportage or street this may work sometimes... for the rest of photography less.

And "do first - think later" is in my book generally a real bad behaviour...
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Old 05-30-2013   #21
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I shoot a lot of slide film in meterless cameras, so it's almost impossible to shoot without thinking in those instances. Much easier to shoot b&w without thinking. But I'm in general a slow, deliberate shooter, and I rarely expose more than one image of a scene/subject.
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Old 05-30-2013   #22
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What I love about using meterless manual cameras is that they get me one step closer to thinking *before*.


I can't just raise the camera and take a shot. I have to think about what kind of shot or maybe what two or three types of shots i might want to take in a particular environment, try to guess where the subject might be (if not stationary) and determine the right exposure for the environment and potential subjects (DOF ammount, motion blur, etc). It take a a little time ahead of the shooting, but after that, I'm so focused on the scenario, or scenarios that I've anticipated, that I rarely fail to capture them.

Am I missing potential shots while I'm preparing? Yes, but then again, no. I choose to think like Winogrand, who claimed there were no pictures happening while he was reloading his camera.
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Old 05-30-2013   #23
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... I don't always think later actually
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Old 05-30-2013   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OurManInTangier View Post
In my experience, in terms of street type shots, I find shooting first and thinking later often gets you 'the' shot but thinking moments after that initial shot may lead to a far better shot. Do they have to be exclusive of one another?
this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
... I don't always think later actually
and this.


i think everybody who shoots "candid" (i hate that word) stuff has missed a few shots because of considering things rather than doing them, no?
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Old 05-31-2013   #25
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If you are willing to do lots of post processing then the think-later thing makes sense. Else, you'd better get it perfect first place.
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Old 05-31-2013   #26
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Many times my "best" pictures are the ones taken without thinking. Maybe not technically perfect but more "alive", warmer, less clinical. In other cases, when working on a specific project I need to think a lot before shooting. It depends on circumstances.
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Old 05-31-2013   #27
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I think responses in the vein of, "that's ok when you don't have much time" are missing the point.

BTW. He has a show up in NYC at the moment...
http://www.pacemacgill.com/show_inst...n.php?item=117

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Old 05-31-2013   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodchenko View Post
He's a very talented man trying to express something tht can't be put into words. Most of us doing what he does would end up with a load of rubbish with the very occasional gem.
This is so true and I am sure this is happening to many of us.

I personally shoot and I build a relation in the same time - often starting wider on the object and getting closer and closer. Usually the couple of shots are on "if in doubt, click" bases, but as I get closer to what I want I pay more and more attention on what's going on. I have learned to talk in the same time so I build a "relationship" even with the people who don't want to be photographed. Few shots away as I am trying to look confident and as much natural as possible and then straight to the point. Then I fire a few more wides for goodbye
However, most of the time I am getting what I am after, for what it worth. Photography is a process as much as an art so rubbish shots, well...
Art is a word.

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