What I am about to tell you may fall into the category of ‘it’s obvious, stupid’ …. BUT, so many peeps today seem to want to acquire a skill instantly or perhaps absorb it passively.

It reminds me of the woman who, at the end of a concert given by a world renown pianist, spoke to him saying “That was wonderful, I’d give my life to be able to play like that.” To which the pianist replied “Madam, I have.”

[Thanks to Amanda McGhee for allowing me to use her brilliant baby photo.]

Ok, so here’s the tip – to paraphrase ‘Frankie Goes To Hollywood’ – (feel free to sing along)

Relax, just do it
When you want to get to it
Relax, just do it
If you wanna get good

I know this tip is simple but it’s not necessarily easy cos it’s a mind thing. I want you to relax and stop worrying about the technical ‘bits’ on your camera or what derisory comments others may offer under the guise of ‘being helpful’. (“Ooh, love the way you’ve got that arty blurred look.”)

Release your inner child and go out and ‘play’ – enjoy yourself. Don’t worry about how the pics are gonna turn out – hey, you can always delete them, right… This is just about feeling comfortable both with respect to physically holding the camera/pressing the shutter button and taking pictures in public areas.


I want you to feel that holding and using the camera is the most natural thing in the world – like holding and using a pen or a knife and fork, it can become almost automatic.

Just as the ‘long-lived’ wild west gunslinger developed a vey close relationship with his gun, so your camera should become part of you, an extension of your hand and eye’. – set the camera to auto and get out and shoot.

The saying – ‘a big shot is just a little shot who kept on shooting’ – is particularly pertinent in the world of photography.

Many professionals I know never go anywhere without someway of taking photographs – even if it’s a mobile phone camera. So why can’t you do that – whenever you’re going out be prepared to take some pics.


Later on we’ll work on developing good technique but, for now, just enjoy yourself. Keep your camera with you at all times you never know when you’ll want to use it – and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to use it all the time.

“Practice makes perfect” – well that’s debatable, I’m such a long way off perfect but practice certainly helps you get shots you would otherwise miss – here’s a few to illustrate the point.

First there is the grass snake having just caught a Marsh Frog tadpole for dinner – I was lucky to catch this just in time before it disappeared - taken at Rainham Marshes RSPB Reserve, Essex, UK.

Next, this amusing, fleeting moment was caught in a Flea Market in Brussels – it only happened once, there was no 2nd chance.

Finally, lets look at a couple of shots that show the value of practice and familiarity with your camera First a slow reaction to a photo opportunity and then a faster response. Both shots of Red Kites were taken on the same day in Oxfordshire, UK.

Just one thing – stay in the ‘learning mode’ – you’re gaining invaluable experience, think about what you’re doing and learn from it. When you get home take a look at your pics and think about why you like some but not others…..    Then post your picture(s), comments and questions on VOXTIPS WINDOW – http://www.facebook.com/groups/voxtipswindow


Relax, just do it
When you want to get to it
Relax, ju ……

“I wish you good shooting.”


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One Comment

  1. Posted April 20, 2013 at 10:58 am by Neil Brown | Permalink

    Wise words, indeed, Steve. It’s the result that counts, not all the technical data and sometimes “mistakes” give the best results of all! I still feel like a kid playing with photography and a compact camera goes almost everywhere with me, just in case.

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