My Goal: To Be a Straight Shooter

Once a month I get together for breakfast with three awesome ladies.  We came together in a random fashion, all alumni of a photography course taught by this awesome lady.  I call them my "photography friends".  Our time spent together is cherished, and I genuinely don't think any of my new photography projects would be happening without their influence.  But that's  a story for another day.

This past month, we went beyond breakfast conversation and actually took a few pictures, talking technique (and giggling) as we went along.  Kelly sent out a few photos she took.  I loved the photos but immediately noticed something kind of wonky about this one of me.

photo by Kelly Walsh-Loss

Do you see my camera?  See how crooked I'm holding it????  Don't you think I should know better???

I've known this about myself for awhile.  I'm a crooked shot.  I think I started taking photos before I really knew the "right" way to hold it (and there is a right way, we'll discuss it in my class).  Many times, I need to just slow down and think about things like shooting straight.

So that's my goal for the next few weeks.  To be a straight shot.  With photography, there are so many things to think about.  Sometimes I think it's useful to focus on just one area, work on it, make good habits, and then move onto something else.  

Sure, I could just straighten my photos in Lightroom (and admittedly do it often).  But it's so much better to get things right the first time, or SOOC as photographers say.  (That stands for "straight out of camera.").  Straightening cuts off part of the photo.  If it is a part I want to keep, I have to decide if straightening is worth it. 

Here's an example to show you what I mean.  I took this the other day of the kids eating some watermelon.  

Here it is un-straightened.  Those kids are about to fall over!  Look at the mantel...the vases are about to slide right off.

Here it is straightened, but notice the extra white space in the corners.  I don't want that.  I'll have to crop it to get rid of those white corners.  

Here's the resulting image.  Sam and Rachael are chopped.  If I had just shot straight in the first place, I would have composed to include just what I wanted in the image. 

My camera has the option to turn on a grid through the viewfinder.  That way, when I'm taking a picture, I can use the grid to help keep me straight.  Ultimately, I just need to slow down a bit, remember to hold my camera correctly.  Hopefully I'll end up looking a bit more like this.  

Rebecca (shown) is an amazing photographer and does family documentary sessions.  Her pictures are straight. Check out her work here.

 Shooting straight...that's my goal.

Another note here about shooting straight.  A few months ago, I had a consult with the awesome photographer Karen mentioned above.  She noted that my photos all leaned up just a bit.  After some analysis, I realized that my big nose pushes up the bottom of my camera.  Ha!  Now I know to squish my nose down just a tad and I'm good (this might not be an issue for the small nosed people of the world, but I have to share to help any other big nosed folks out there).

One more side note.  We don't always have to shoot straight.  Sometimes shooting at an angle brings the look we want to our photos.  But it is all about shooting with purpose and on purpose.  

Do you have something specific you'd like to practice? Please share in the comments.

Or, maybe you are at the beginning of your photography journey and looking for a course to take.  Perhaps you live in Northern Virginia and are free on September 26.  Maybe you like chocolate.  If that's the case, be sure to head over to this link, and sign up for my workshop updates.  Registration starts next week.  Eeek!