It may seem obvious but the best pictures are taken by photographers who have a picture in mind and set out to get it. So many people are reactive, including many professional photographers
They may technically be gifted and highly capable but the nature of their work means they are capturing what happens in front of them. They are in effect creating a record or archive where there is little room for creativity. They need to produce an image to a brief; it has to fit a format and usually delivered in short order. They react to the event quickly, they don’t get a second chance.
Most amateur photographers fall into the category of Reactive Photographers, they may carry their camera with them wherever they go and will shoot family and friends, home and holidays as they happen. There’s nothing wrong with being reactive. If your life prevents you from being a proactive photographer.
Being proactive requires much more thought and planning. The landscape photographers I work with on the photography breaks are the classic example of being proactive. The know the shot they are looking for, they need the clouds to be in the right place and be the right colour, they need the sun to appear at just the right time in just the right place. They have the dedication to get out of bed at uncivilised times in the morning when it’s dark and cold and drive for an hour or more before hiking to their chosen location. After all that the conditions may not be right and their efforts prove fruitless. Undaunted, they’ll be back the next day and the next day until they get the shot they want.
There’s much more of the artist in the proactive photographer, they see the shot not in technical terms and camera settings but in colours, light and shade, shapes and composition. They see the finished result before they pull their camera out the bag and stick it on a tripod.
We’ve all been lucky sometimes and just happened to be in the right place at the right time and got a picture to be proud of but when you plan it and get it right – Wow!
Next time you’re captivated by a fabulous picture – ask yourself; did that happen by chance or by design.