How to Master Photography Frustration

August 31, 2013 Roho Ya Chui
 As wonderful as photography is, it comes with many opportunities for frustration. This can vary from empty batteries, to the animal that wouldn’t look into the camera, over prints that look awful to accidentally erased holiday pictures. Probably everyone has experienced one or more of these moments once or even more often with photography. Anger is usually the response, which leads to more mistakes and more frustration. Hence, this is not the way to master these situations.  

Lets look at an example. A keen and experienced wildlife photographyenthusiast is on a photographic safari. Well prepared, all necessary pieces of photographic gear well packed and organized in the backpack, the photographer departs on the morning game drive in the Masai Mara with the goal to photograph a sunrise with one of those beautiful umbrella trees in front of the rising sun. It was already discussed on the evening before that a tree was needed for the purpose and the guide knows exactly where to go for the perfect composition.

They arrive at the tree and it is exactly what the photographer had in mind. Now it’s waiting for the sun to rise. African sunrises and sunsets happen very fast. The best light and composition are over within 10 minutes. The sun comes and the photographer starts to shoot away, looks at the images on the screen and is not happy. It is not the moody scene it should be and the camera is struggling to focus as well. Hectic, the light is changing quickly and the results are not good. What to do?

Even as this situation is under time pressure, like pretty much all photography moments, take literally and mentally a step back and look at the problem from different angles. What are the settings on the camera, check them, how is the focus point set, check it, what is the metering mode, check it, where in the composition can you find contrast, look at your object the rising sun, find where the camera’s focus can focus, now take again a picture. Already better. Carry on fine tuning what you are doing, keep the mental and emotional distance in order to understand what is going on and respond accordingly. 

The 10 minutes are over and you might have shot 200 images of the rising sun. The images will tell the story of rising frustration and the mastering of it with the result of mind-blowing images.

Now apply the method to any other situation. The step back is the key. It creates a distance from where we can see again and also see the solution.

Happy snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

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