lesson: letting go | by Janel Peyton


There are all kinds of lessons you can find on the internet about light, shadows, composition,
color etc. But I want to teach something different. Something that isn’t spoken about very often:
Letting go and creating. Let go of the rules, let go of the control and just shoot. But I know
enough people to know that letting go isn’t easy. I actually wrote my college thesis on that
subject. So how do we do it? How do we let go so that our inner artist can just play? Here are
my thoughts:

  1. Shoot from the hip. By removing your eye from the visual plane, you are letting go of the control of composition. You are getting into the scene rather than controlling it with your lens.
  2. Lift the camera above your head and shoot downwards on the scene without looking through live view. This will add an interesting perspective that will remain a surprise to you.
  3. Put a ziplock bag around your camera and jump into the water fight or the messy scene. Allow yourself to be in the scene with the subjects, not just on the outside. Enjoy the scene. Feel the joy or the chaos.
  4. Try this while your children play. Try this while walking on main street. Try this while at a party. See what you get.
  5. Don’t cheat. If you are committed to the idea of trying this, truly commit. Don’t say you want to let go and then don’t. Go all in.
  6. Embrace the blur. Since you aren’t holding the camera steady and you aren’t lining up shots, it may be blurry. But that’s ok. Remember, you are letting go of the expectations for these images. You are playing.
  7. Prepare yourself for a lot of throw away shots. A good deal of these will be too blurry, too unusable. But it’s an exercise. It’s a game. Enjoy the process.

You don’t have to be perfect. Not every image has to be thought out and contrived. The things you are likely to think while doing this exercise:

  1. Letting go feels awkward.
  2. Letting go is hard.
  3. Letting go feels lazy.
  4. Letting go feels not-thought-out.
  5. Letting go can be fun.
  6. Letting go is totally out of my comfort zone, but might be worth integrating into my portfolio on occasion.

The things you’ll walk away with after doing this exercise:

  1. Freedom from the rules.
  2. Freedom from expections.
  3. Fun photos you wouldn’t have ever taken before.

Enjoy the process. Feel the process. Dance with the process. There are no real rules, only
contrived ones. Don’t let that hinder your creativity and take away the fun of this artform that we
love so much.

Megan BoggsComment