Why I only take one single photo 📸
Taking photos these days often looks like this — we take multiple photos of everything just to be sure that we get at least one good shot.
We review our photos and we find that “this person looks awkward” or “I don’t like how my face looks in this” or “you’re making a funny expression” – and then we go back to taking more photos. We repeat this process until we’ve had enough and then we stop.
The result is that we end up with 30 photos from one afternoon lunch plan with friends.
In the past —
When I see photos from the early 2000s or late 90s, not all photos are perfect. Some photos are blurry, in some photos, someone is closing an eye, someone’s doing something awkward – they more often than not look like a moment frozen in time, which makes them have a very candid quality.
This photo of my sister and I is a great example.
The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, film was expensive – and so every shot counted. Secondly, we didn’t see the photo until weeks later when we developed the film, so even if the photo looked funny or awkward we didn’t know it at that moment.
What that led to —
The result of that was photos with a candid quality, as I mentioned before, but also that we didn’t spend so much time taking and retaking photos and instead took in more of the experience.
We took one photo, and that’s it.
And so what I did —
I decided to apply the same constraints to my digital photo taking.
On my phone, I force myself to only take one single photo each time – whether it is of a scene, a group of people, a selfie, or a landscape.
I don’t review my photos until the end of the day when I’m back at home.
On my camera, the same thing. I only take one single photo each time (there are exceptions, like for e.g. when I’m shooting some action, or a model with changing poses).
I’ve disabled the photo review function on my camera, and so after I take a shot, the camera doesn’t automatically show me what I just took. I only review the photos later on once I transfer them to my computer, or at the end of the day/end of the shoot.
Another rule is to never post on Instagram – stories or posts – during the moment. I always take photos and then post on IG later on during down time.
The result —
I found two main results out of doing this:
I spend more time composing each shot I take – looking at all the details in the scene and making sure that everything looks good, before I hit the shutter button. As a result, my attention to detail has improved a lot.
I enjoy the moment itself a lot more, because once I take my one photo, I’m done with photo taking.
Moreover, I’ve learned to be happy with the result – mistakes and faults included.
Over time, this habit proves to be quite beneficial because it allows me to balance taking photos with actually enjoying the moment!
I sometimes even add a disposable film-camera filter to sell the effect more.
Let me know what you think of this idea – would you implement it in your life? Hit ‘reply’ and let me know.
P.S. sorry for not being regular on this newsletter (and on YouTube) the last couple of weeks. I recently started a new internship, and I’m still figuring out a good routine to keep up with content creation and working full-time at the same time.
See you guys in the next one!