The Essential Art of Concentration in Street Photography

The one big thing that stuck with me from the days of film was to trust my intuition.

There were no review screens.

I had to try a little harder, particularly in the genres of street and action photography where much was out of my control.

Did I get it?

The moment, the focus, the composition–so many elements to a successful image and if I missed any of them the image would be delegated to the “never to be seen” disappointment folder.

I learned that when I had a feeling…a thought that maybe I didn’t quite get the shot I was hoping for–I was always right.

I missed it. It would not be there.

When shooting with film, it was really important for me to be micro-sensitive to these thoughts. When I had even the slightest inkling of insecurity with regards to the shoot at hand–I would stay, continue shooting and work it harder and longer. This attitude pushed me further, upward toward stronger work and a more successful career.

Since digital, I have tried too carry with me this same philosophy and work ethic to my shooting. But, between you and me–it’s not always easy.

There have been times when I’ve been a bit lazy. Never on assignment, I can’t afford any lapses because there are no excuses. But arguably the bar is highest with my personal work.  Sometimes when I’m out shooting for myself on the street or wherever I am–I’m not concentrating enough; I’m not paying attention to my intuition and I don’t get into the photographic zone where I strive to live–where everything not connected with the shoot fades to black and my laser focus, eye to the viewfinder– is on the lookout and eventual capture of the elusive five-star image. I seek it every time I raise the camera to my eye and it’s seldom found.

But it’s never on the memory card if I’m not concentrating the way I have learned to over the years.

This post is a reminder and a warning for you but mostly me. Stay on point. Enjoy the journey and keep a concentrated lookout on the world you wonder through with your camera.

It’s only then, in my experience– that the planets will align and reward you with an image you feel surprised with and proud of.

Concentration is key when I'm out shooting - or I won't get the moment I'm looking for.
Concentration is key when I’m out shooting – or I won’t get the moment I’m looking for.


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