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The Fast Snap: Why Slowing Down Your Photography Matters

If there’s one word that can describe the 21st century, it’s fast. Whether it’s technology, consuming media, or the way we capture media, everyone wants everything done as quickly as possible, to the point where, in the photography world, you literally have a setting for ‘burst mode’, meaning you can shoot multiple photographs in just one second. 

Back in the late 19th century, the exposure time of photographs meant that people had to wait anywhere from five minutes to half an hour for just a single shot. That’s why everyone looks so stern in those old portraits – they weren’t just incessantly grumpy in the olden days, they were tired of waiting around for the camera to go snap!

In the 21st century, things are quite different. But while the ability to take pictures quickly is undoubtedly a good thing, it isn’t always wise if you want to be a great photographer.

If you’re wandering around a city like New York, for instance, it can be very tempting to undergo fast, disorganised photo shoots, where you take hundreds of photographs around the city and wade through for the best ones when you get home. But while this might seem like the best way to take that perfect photograph – finding a jewel amongst a pile of rocks – you’ll always be settling for the best of a bad bunch.

The Key Word of Photography

If fast is the keyword for humans in the 21st century, then attention is the keyword for photography. No matter what photographs you’re taking, you have to give the appropriate attention to your images, ensuring you keep your shoots far calmer and more deliberate. 

By doing this, you can compose your shots more carefully, perfect your focus and sharpness, and find the best lighting to enhance the colors and really elevate your subject. Quite simply, you need to know you’ve got a good shot immediately after you take it.

This isn’t just to save you time down the road – sifting through hundreds of photographs to upload to our photo book maker is not such a hard task, and most of the work is done for you! – it’s about connecting with the images that you’re taking, subsequently finding more authenticity and an emotionally resonant purpose behind them.

The Importance of Connection

Let’s talk about AI for a second. Yes, we know, there were probably a hundred groans across our readership upon reading that sentence, but hear us out. There’s a very distinct reason why AI will never replace human creativity. It’s fast, yes. It’s impressive. But no work is put in by a robot to understand a story that they’re telling, or a photograph that they’ve created. There’s no emotional attachment to the image, and that means there isn’t a why behind the creation itself. 

We as humans appreciate the why even more than the what, and that’s the reason the most appreciated photographs are the ones photographers took ages agonising over. 

Why should you expect viewers to spend any time appreciating a photograph if you’ve taken it on a whim? If you have no emotional attachment to a photograph, with no reason as to why you’ve taken it, why you’ve chosen a certain composition, or why you’ve opted for a certain angle, then there is no reason why it should resonate.

How to Slow Down Your Photography

If you want to stand out in 2024, the photographs that you take need to be more considered, pre-visualised, and intentional. 

This starts with planning your shots – knowing exactly where you’re headed and what you want to photograph there – and forming a few ideas on the optimum subjects ahead of time. It also requires you to download all the best tools to optimise your photography and find the best exposure and contrasts in conjunction with the light. These are tools that will slow you down, but not hinder you while you’re in the field.

It’s also important to review and reflect on the photos that you take. After each shot, you should be reviewing what you’ve taken and contemplating what worked well, what mistakes you made, and what could be improved. It’s very hard to capture something amazing straight off the bat, so slowing down will help you find your perfection. 

Of course, there will be moments in your photography journey where you need to act fast, but these rarely happen without previous planning – and if you’ve undergone that planning to get you in the best place, at the right time, with the right tools, then you’ll be in a much better position to capture those moments anyway. So slow it down, take a breath, and remember to stand still while the world rushes by you.


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