"You should step out of your comfort zone at least once a day," said a friend of mine recently. She rolled her eyes when I told her that once a day was far too frequent.
On Sunday morning I stepped into Studio 5 where I was photographing the spring/summer '14 lookbook for Quince Clothing. Daniel and I arrived early so with coffee in hand (The Grounds of Alexandria was just across the road) I took note of the light, the shadow, the colour. I stood for a good ten minutes, looking at the white wall in front of me, the cement floor below. I had one day to photograph five children, five babies and fifty outfits.
Whilst I have a very hard time calling myself a photographer (I was a writer first so I'll stick to "writer who likes to take photos") I'll admit that I thoroughly love the creativity involved with a studio shoot. In Studio 5 I was given free reign so I got to play with composition and props and capture smiles, frowns, daydreams and spontaneous bursts of dancing. I can't show you the final photos till September but I can tell you that I'm grateful for that day, two years ago, when I switched my camera from auto to manual. The challenge of learning my camera was well worth the reward that has come from taking photos - personally and professionally. Challenge is a good, good thing.
Many of you who have joined The 52 Project have mentioned a desire to learn to shoot on manual. If you're interested in a workshop, Tim Coulson and I are hosting The Creatives - two Sydney workshops in May and July (only a couple of spaces left). If you can't make it to Sydney, start with this manual photography cheat sheet and then take photos - thousands of photos.