Nikon Z Creator Kim Grant has been practising mindful photography since she first picked up a camera, aged 16, to photograph the spectacular Moray coastline where she was born and brought up.
Mindfulness is about being fully immersed in the moment, drinking in every aspect of it – what it looks like, what it feels like, how it sounds, how it smells. When you practise it with your photography, it can help you develop your eye for an image, encouraging you to take the time to appreciate what a scene has to offer so you can really make the most of it.
Here are Kim’s top five tips for getting started…
1. Don’t take your camera out straight away
Before you even think about getting your camera out of its bag, take some time to immerse yourself in your chosen location. Look around and watch how the light interacts with the landscape around you. This will help guide you to possible photographic opportunities and make the most of the available light.
2. Engage your other senses
While photography is primarily a visual experience, using your other senses can help open your mind up to photographic opportunities. Listen to the scene around you. Can you hear any wildlife? Maybe the waves lapping onto the shore or the wind blowing through the trees? The best photographs come from working with the scene, so using your other senses to become open to it can guide you to subjects you may never have considered capturing before.
3. Take time over your images
When you do get your camera out, take your time composing your shot. Look at your subject from all angles, experimenting with how best to use the light and shapes to emphasise its beauty. It can help to shoot with your camera on a tripod, as this naturally slows you down and helps you consider more carefully what’s in your field of view.
4. Look all around you
While we all have subjects we are naturally drawn to, it’s helpful from time to time to step out of your comfort zone and capture something new. Watch the clouds, the birds, the ground around you. Is there anything different that you could shoot? If you’re usually a “bigger picture” photographer, for example, it could be little details and potential subjects for abstract close-ups.
5. Play around with focal lengths
You probably have a “go-to” focal length lens or two that you enjoy using, but playing around with different lenses will open up new opportunities. Try using a telephoto lens to isolate subjects in the scene and simplify your images. Or what about an ultrawide angle lens to emphasise certain subjects in your foreground? When we play around with focal lengths, we begin to see the world differently and enhance our photographic opportunities.
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