How many times have you heard this? You should carry your camera at all times. The rationale, of course, is sound. You never know when something amazing is going to happen right in front of your eyes. You may well miss the shot of a lifetime because your beloved camera is sitting on a desk at home.
Let’s now take a step back from that rationale and ask another question. Answer it honestly. How many times has something jaw droppingly amazing happened in front of you? I am talking here about the unexpected, not something that was planned or foreseen. Probably not very often I would wager. Here’s the thing, even if you did have your camera, would you have been able to power it up, raise it and compose before the said event was over? Today I am going to suggest some reasons why you should not take your camera with you at all times. That's not to say you should never take a camera, we are photographers after all. What I am suggesting is that we should be more selective about when we take our cameras out.
Here’s the thing, even if you did have your camera, would you have been able to power it up, raise it and compose before the said event was over? Today I am going to suggest some reasons why you should not take your camera with you at all times. That's not to say you should never take a camera, we are photographers after all. What I am suggesting is that we should be more selective about when we take our cameras out.
Loss of Social Interaction
How often have you watched people ignoring their partners, friends or family whilst checking the latest update from TwitFace on their smart device? Do you realise many of us photographers do the same thing? If a day out is meant to be with family and friends, try to keep it that way. By carrying a camera with you will you are opening yourself to all the distractions that your creative mind can muster at the expense of your friends. Carrying a camera whilst out with out non photographic friends can be incredibly selfish. We stop, we wander off the chosen path and worst of all we ignore the people we are supposed to be interacting with.
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Lack of Inspiration
We lose our inspiration when the when we fail to see the beauty in the everyday. If we are constantly trying to capture the everyday with our cameras, there is going to be a point where very little will inspire us, even if that thing is very beautiful or photogenic. The problem is that if we take a camera all the time, we desensitise our eye to the world around us. Try walking the same route every day for several days without a camera. On the last day take that camera. You subconscious mind will have been absorbing the creative possibilities on those previous days mainly because you were not actually shooting them.
Taking a Rest
There comes a point in any hobby when you just don’t want to do any more. Photography is no different. When picking up that camera and shooting becomes just a reflex action, its time to take a rest. Of course taking a rest does not have to mean a complete break from photography, just the taking aspect of it.
You could put your rest time to good use by studying some new photographic techniques or perhaps catching up editing your backlog of images. Taking a break is a very healthy thing to do in photography. It refocuses our desire to take photographs and reignites our creativity.
Boosting Our Creativity
Its impossible to be creative 100% of the time. By taking a camera with us wherever we go we are in fact trying to force our creativity. This is something that you should never do. Creativity comes when we are most relaxed, most focused. It works best when we do not put undue pressure on ourselves to be creative.
Leaving the camera at home will not stop your creativity, it may however enhance it. This is because we will be seeing the world entirely through our eyes and not a viewfinder as well. Just looking at things without the urge to shoot them can open up many new creative possibilities for when we do return with our cameras.
Use a Smart Phone
Of course even when we don’t take a camera with us, we very often do. That's in the form of a smart phone. Today’s phones make excellent cameras for everyday shots. If, you find that you cannot or will not leave home without a camera, take a smart phone instead. It may well be enough to sate your photographic appetite while maintaining your inspiration and creativity. You also won’t be the “professional photographer” when you are out with your friends and family.
Photography is a wonderful, creative pursuit. However like anything, we can get desensitised to it’s wonders. Taking a camera everywhere you go is an easy way to do that. Whilst there is the slim possibility that the most incredible scene may infold in front of you the day you don’t take the camera, the chances are small. What may happen if you do carry the camera at all times is a slow, imperceptible erosion of your creativity and inspiration.