4 Surprising, But Key Life Lessons from Photography

There's a lot more that photography and a camera can teach us about life than you thought. Here are the 4 key lessons.

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I didn’t think photography was relevant to my life either.

That’s until I started basic photography and realised how much it can teach us about life.

Here are the 4 photography principles that apply to your life – for the better.

Look at what and where you want to shoot.

The first rule of photography is to look where you’re shooting.

What the subject of your photo is, that’s where your focus should be.

It’s the same with life. Whatever you’re aiming for, that’s where your attention and focus should be.

Would you look at the trees if you were shooting a portrait of someone? Of course not. Likewise, why compare yourself to others when all that you should be concerned about in your frame is you?

Focus and Clarity

You might look in the right direction, but what if the camera isn’t focused?. If that’s the case, I might as well be looking at other things if my camera isn’t focused on the subject, right?

You know when your camera isn’t focused, and everything is blurry? Well, that’s exactly what it’s like when we lack definition, clarity and granularity about our life, direction and goals.

You know what you’re taking a picture of. You know what you’re looking at, but it hasn’t yet materialised. It’s not that clear.

In real life, in my opinion, it comes down to planning and studying.

  • Planning in terms of defining what, why, how and when around what it is you’re doing and where you’re going.
  • Studying comes down to learning and acquiring knowledge.

Adjust to the Environment

The most important element of photography is light. The word “photo” literally means light. One of the biggest factors determining an image’s quality is the lighting.

So, in photography, many factors must be adjusted according to the environment for the correct lighting (along with other factors and requirements).

Again, the theme is that the same principle of adjustments and adaptation applies to real life.

Our circumstances, environments and variables demand that we adjust. We must be flexible and develop the ability and agility to tailor our approach to the context we find ourselves in.

You can’t have the same setting for a daylight photo as you would for a nighttime one. You wouldn’t dare to have the same shutter speed for a still image as you would to capture a high-speed car or a sports event. So why do you think you can keep the same “settings” for every context and environment in your life?

It depends on what you want and what you are looking to achieve. Sometimes, unconventional approaches are exactly what is required.

High shutter speed means the camera lens is open for a shorter period, so you can capture quickly moving objects without a blur. But sometimes that blur may be exactly what you want, for example, if you want a shot of something to replicate a dream.

In either case, you must know:

a) What context and environment you’re in

b) What exactly you want to achieve

A different lens changes the perspective/picture.

Lenses change everything. Take the same picture from the same position, at the same time and angle of the same subject. But with two different lenses, you can get two completely different pictures.

First, you use a 16mm for a wide-angle shot to capture the entire landscape of the mountains and valleys. You see the sunset gradient across the horizon, and you have the perspective of seeing what feels like the whole world.

But then you change to a 300mm lens. Where are the mountains and valleys? Where’s the beautiful sunset? Instead, you’re close up and personal to an eagle enough to count its feathers. Where was this eagle before?

In the same way, the camera’s lens changes the nature of a photo, as does our perspective changes the nature of the circumstance and outcome.

It's not so much the situation but more so how you choose to look at it. The lens you use determines the picture you take.

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