The Basic Filmmaker is one of my favourite channels on YouTube. As well as offering great filmmaking and photography tips, there’s often a whole heap of common sense thrown in for good measure, too. A video he posted today, got my interest, though. It’s a list of the top 10 things non-filmmakers can try over the holidays. A lot of it can apply equally to photographers, too.
So, if you’re stuck for things to do this holiday season instead of obsessing over gear or showing off your newest toy, have a watch!
I’m not going to mention all of the tips here, but I am going to touch on a few.
When you’re with your friends and family, instead of talking to them about your gear, try listening to them and what they have to say.
With filmmaking, it’s often more about getting input from the crew. Genuinely listening to their ideas, and considering the options. For photographers, especially portrait and wedding photographers, actually listening to your subjects can help to get them more relaxed. It builds up that level of openness and trust, and makes them more at easy while you’re shooting away.
When you’re at a party and somebody pulls out their phone or cheap plastic camera, stay quiet, smile, and enjoy the party.
Not everything has to look like it was directed by Spielberg. Photos also don’t need to look perfect, especially for small personal family events. Not everything is intended to be printed up as a huge canvas for the wall, or as a candidate for the cover of time magazine.
There’s no reason to belittle family and friends for what they’re using to record the event, especially when they’re not as into photography or filmmaking as you might be. Different people have different priorities in life.
Do something you actually get nothing for. No recognition, no pat on the back, nada, zip, zero.
It’s the holidays. It’s a time for giving, for being selfless. Do something nice because it’s the right thing to do, not because of what it might give you in return.
This is a lesson you can also bring to your photography. Sometimes, doing something just because it’s the right thing to do is its own reward. Karma can also feed it back to you later down the road when you least expect it. Helping others when I can for nothing in return has allowed me to make some great friends over the years that have benefited my life and my photography immensely.
Instead of watching YouTube videos about what gear to get that you can’t afford or shooting in faraway locations you’ll never visit, get up and just go shoot something!
The worst video ever made is a thousand times better than the ones that weren’t.
This is always true, but around this time of year, when the festivities are calming down, don’t worry about the gear you don’t have. Look at what you do have and just go make something with it. Pushing yourself to use the gear you already have makes you innovate and try different things. You might surprise yourself with what you figure out.
You don’t get good by thinking about it. You have to go out and do it. Getting into this mindset can also help with your regular shooting. Half of a photographer’s job is problem solving. Don’t have the piece of gear you need on a shoot? What else can you do to compensate for it?
You can watch the video for the rest of the tips, but what other suggestions do you have? What family holiday survival tips can you offer that are also good advice for life, photography or filmmaking in general? Let us know in the comments.