Moving Out of Your Photographic Comfort Zone!

I’m gonna admit it. Most days I’m a photographic coward. I tend to shoot subjects that I’m comfortable with and in situations that I’m confident I can handle. I’m sure that I’m not alone in having a “photographic comfort zone” and I know that others suffer from this “fear” as well. For me, photographing people candidly is difficult. I feel uncomfortable approaching someone and asking if I can take a few shots of them, especially in a public place. I hesitate because of this fear and the moment is gone.

Sometimes however, you’ve just got to take a chance. Dive into a new photographic venture head first. Throw caution to the wind. Be brave. Have courage and stretch your “visionary” legs a little and allow your photographic talents to grow. Anything we fear this much must be teaching us something.

It helps to know that you’re not alone. That even the best talent in this field feel the same sense of exhilaration and hesitation that you do approaching people to photograph. Joe McNally talks about it constantly in his classes and online seminars at Kelby Training. David duChemin devoted an entire section of his wonderful new book Within the Frame – The Journey of Photographic Vision to this subject. Matt Brandon and Gavin Gough post about it weekly on their blogs.

I’ve found one theme in all this that really rings true for me without sounding too preachy. Taking a photograph is an intensely personal act and requires trust between both parties. I believe that if your “intent” is pure and true, the people you approach will read your integrity, trust your character and respond to that almost instinctively. Then and only then can you capture the moment and create a meaningful image. I know it sounds a little corny but its absolutely true.

Hard at Work

Hard at Work
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 40D set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM hand-held. The exposure was taken at 40mm, f/5.6 for 1/60th of a second at ISO 200 on Lexar Professional digital film. Post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

2 thoughts on “Moving Out of Your Photographic Comfort Zone!

  1. Hi Jeff,

    I work for Peachpit Press and thought you and your readers would like to know that David duChemin has a special podcast series in the works where he gives his own personal feedback on YOUR photos. You can submit them through flickr and, if chosen, he’ll let you know what he thinks! More info can be found here:

    • Kara,

      Thanks for the link. I saw the new Flickr group a few days ago and have already posted an image (he says bravely). The thought of David critiquing one of my images is both exciting and a little intimidating. If he selects my image I thinks its only right that he wear his lime green pinstripe suit when filming his podcast, since I am Irish and of a sensitive nature at heart. (PS – This is a little joke for David’s benefit. He’ll understand).

      BTW – You folks did a great job on his book. The paper stock used is superb and really shows off David’s images. I really like the layout and fonts used in this book. Great job!


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