Teresa Pilcher Photography

Your first 10,000 photos

“Your first 10,000 photos are your worst.” Henri Cartier -Bresson.

Now I don’t believe that Henri was being flippant when he said this, the simple fact is the more you shoot, the quicker you improve. Now as the title suggests, my next big realisation was simply to Shoot more! That’s it!! The more images you take, the more you perfect your craft and hone your skills, so the quicker you will progress. So shoot more, but more of what exactly???

“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson. So he encourages us to shoot mindfully and with purpose.

Shoot more frames….I rarely get the  perfect image straight up.. It does happen, but it is more than likely to be a process that you work towards intuitively. If something catches your eye, try to exhaust what it is that you saw in this subject, so I often take a minimum of 3 frames and up to 10 frames. Like I said, it’s a process… If you nailed it on your first exposure.. Excellent! But even if you did, there is often more than one story in every scene.
Long Shadows on a Textured Wall Paris 2015

In this image for example, I first noticed the abstract qualities of the shadows against this wall created by a bus stop ..In reality the backdrop was quite ordinary, but I saw it’s potential so decided to stand and wait for my subjects to walk by, this is commonly known as setting the stage.  Within 5 minutes I had captured 3 images, my first subject was out of step, my second was running and not quite what I had visualised.  When I saw this girl I knew I exactly where I wanted to capture her. The decisive moment timed the image to her full stride and placing her between the shadow elements of my backdrop.

Shoot more often…My camera is always with me when I walk out my front door. That is why one camera and one lens is a great decision. The less camera gear you carry the more likely you are to take your camera with you.

The John and Yoko Effect Paris 2015
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”― Pablo Picasso
Learn to play..Picasso once said “it took me 4 yrs to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child”
Just like writers block, photographers often agonise about creating a masterpiece, this can create fear and paralysis. Street Photography does not have to be perfect, in fact the imperfections are what make it real.
The best way to get around this is to make every image a study. You will know when the planets align, it all falls into place and the image is a keeper. But in the meantime just play, experiment and have fun.  Try slow exposure or intentional camera movement. Even if you don’t post the image it will inspire to create more.
Shadows, Statues and Silhouettes Paris 2015
Shoot more of  what you love..You can tell if the photographer loves the image just by looking at it.. True! If you are out on a photo walk and something captures your imagination just shoot it. It will often lead you somewhere you weren’t really expecting. Probably down a Rabbit Hole.. T
What process do you prefer? Setting a stage with a clear idea of what you want to capture or finding subjects and backdrops as you walk?

Teresa Pilcher

Teresa Pilcher Photography A Blog on Street Photography


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