Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Image copyright Ian Ho 2010
As much as I value the importance of a photography community, I feel that it's good to do your personal photography alone, to go out shooting solo. I have realised that it is during my solo shoots that I'm most focused and the least distracted. Of course I'm not saying don't share your photos with the world or upload them on Flickr - I'm saying working alone as a photographer out in the field helps you get better images, especially if you're into landscape and nature photography.
Why is this so?
1) There's no one else to distract you when you're alone. It's just you and your subject, or the environment that you're interacting with. You can put all your energy into making photos and not get preoccupied in comparing shots with your friends or discussing about who's equipment is better and so forth.
2) You can shoot at your own time and own target. When alone, there's no pressure from others to 'move on' to the next location or 'hurry up'. You can take as much time as you like with your subject, and no one's going to bother you. As you spend more time with your subject, be it a flower, landscape etc, you're going to understand it better and find interesting ways to approach it.
3) For some people, they are most creative alone. This is NOT true for all photographers, but for me I find that my photographic vision is best developed when left alone with my subject. Simply put, I get better shots.
All these said, I must also emphasise on the importance of sharing your work after that. It's no point to shoot and hide them away. If you're ashamed to show your work, then you'll never improve. Share your photos with fellow photographers, post them online and be open to feedback.
Also, I'm not saying that it's bad to shoot with fellow friends. No, not at all. Sometimes I shoot with friends, and it's good if you want to catch up with each other and do what you love best together, but I feel that solo is the way to go if you want to be super-serious with a shoot and get the most out of it.