This is the toughest and yet easiest thing to ponder when you are first starting out in the world of photography because there is so much to shoot and you want to be the best right?
The best advice anyone gave me was to take shots of what I like. I had to really think that one out in my head because I liked and still like so many things.
When I started out as a kid with my old film camera kindly given to me by my father I didn't even know how to use the darn thing but I knew I wanted to take photos. I was so excited because it felt so hefty and all metal. He told me to set it at F5.6 and just go around and take shots. Had I even known what he meant by that was that it was the sweet spot for this camera I might have trusted him and just literally kept it on that setting but I was ME which meant I had to fiddle. So I fiddled and experimented and got a stack of film processed by a local shop. I must have blown all my pocket money on getting film developed. The shots were varied from family shots, to shots of Basingstoke town centre, the surrounding countryside, our house but it wasn't until I visited my parents family, ultimately my family too, that I realised what power was in my little 11 year old hands. I snapped my grandmother, aunties, uncles, my cousins, carnival, lizards, the old farm house where at one time 20 people resided and now only my uncle lives. I watched my father in utter fascination as he composed a family of 40 people during a family cricket match with my little hand-me-down camera. When the results came back from our local shop after the holiday I learnt so much. I had written down the apertures I had taken for each shot and saw what was clear and what was a complete blur! But I learnt something and that was the important thing. I still didn't have a clue as to what I liked taking shots of and I am still prone to doing the odd experimental thing though now I guess the theory side of things is greatly improved for me today as an adult.
So have you taken hundreds of shots yet? Have you noticed a current theme that runs through your images? Have you weaned out the ones that seem stronger visually to you than others?
Photography is a process. I am constantly learning something new but what is important is to keep taking out photos. Every day take one shot at the bare minimum. When you're first starting out I would recommend taking your camera everywhere, be it film or digital, of course with the entry of the mobile phone and it being in your pocket or handbag means you'll never be too far away from your mind and a shot. Through time and clicking you'll start to see what makes you tick. If you are really stuck for a theme but really want to improve your photography I would suggest taking at least one photograph a day, like a diary. A snapshot per day through your eyes, like a diary. It will help you see what you like, what you don't like or what you would like to improve on.
My love of street photography is something quite shocking to myself as I usually prefer to work on projects on my own in the confines of my studio however what I have noticed over the past three or four years is my very keen interest in using one prime lens and body or even one compact camera with a nominal telephoto lens and manual settings. Most of my images are achieved through manual settings only. From going out in the streets of London, Ramsgate, Poole ( you get the idea that around England) I have looked for things that captured my imagination in a single shot, on the hooves so to speak. I am currently travelling further afield in Europe exploring things that further capture my attention and view as differences to British culture from the banal to the bizarre, over a period of time I hope to build a set of images that I can share and maybe even inspire others.
For themes you can simply google for ideas but there really are so many, abstract, traffic, trains, people, family, shoes, landscape, skies, clouds, food, insects, animals, parks, trees... Flickr is a good source for ideas as well as Pinterest. Explore and pin. Try out some shots similar to what you see and like that others have done but put your own interpretation of it. I noticed people copying some of the images I posted on certain social media platforms a while back and although at first I felt a bit cross-armed about it all, I came to realise that it should be taken as a compliment... afterall I didn't invent art.
I will be embarking on a photo a week with a lens I would not usually use as I think it would be a challenging experience for me.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me on the contact form or drop me an email and I'll help where possible.