A few weeks ago I was invited to the confirmation of one of my cousin's son. It was a classic family event: the celebration in a beautiful Gothic church in a small medieval town in Southern Germany, coffee and cake at home, dinner at a lovely garden restaurant. A nice day to enjoy, but to take pictures ?? I was hesitating to bring my camera along since I am not too interested in the usual group pictures or family photography. In the end I took my Canon EOS R with a 50mm fixed focal lens only - just in case.
During the celebration at church I suddenly had the idea of what a small series of photographs could look like: portraits and details of the church, the empty chairs after the ceremony (which ask questions like: what will follow now in life for these young boys and girls? Rather that the picture of all of them sitting there). Some portraits of the sibblings, usual and different style like. With this clear idea in mind I could deliberatly take pictures that would fit into my project. I intended to have a leporello printed as a very different gift for my cousin's family.
There are two important points here: once you have a clear idea of where you are heading, it boosts your motivation and it helps to focus on elements that contribute to your goal. You avoid being distracted by the obvious, habitual, by non-important elements. Instead, you concentrate on those things that are important to you at this very moment / phase. This is probably true not only in photography, but in life. But in photography it is the opposite of what most people usually do: they just take pictures randomly of everything and often the same pictures as all the people next to them. If you want to make different pictures then focussing on a certain idea and taking only pictures that help realising that idea is a good strategy. The main thing is to have the idea in time (even last minute as in my case here).
The second point relates to the virtual and real existence of pictures. In my view photographs that are not printed have not really come to life. There are so many virtual pictures that pass quickly before our eyes, be it on social media or the internet, that nobody takes a real look at them and they are as quickly gone as they came. Therefore: get your pictures printed ! Think of little gifts (cards, invitations, decoration...). Have them well printed by a good online-printing house or at a store. It can be a bit tricky with the colours and tones since your screen and the printer are not adjusted to each other (calibration), but we are not talking about fine art high end prints for the Word Photography Awards exhibition. Good online-printing services offer quite satisfactory quality. The moment I open the parcel and take out my printed photographs on lovely paper it always an ecmotional moment. And I believe nobody but my counsin's son got such a present and a very special memory of his "big day". And that is what counts in the end.
Enjoy the summer,