Advice from Sara Lando


This article from PetaPixel which talks about the author, Neil Ta, reviewing his photo series with Sara Lando had caught my eye. The article talks about what have been discussed through their conversation when reviewing the photo series, and some of the topics discussed really triggered me to think deep on it’s meaning.

First, a disclaimer. I got no idea who is this Neil Ta, nor I got any idea who is Sara Lando. They could be some famous photographer, or just anyone. But that’s okay, as I had always been into the artistry side of photography than the photographers themselves.

A few questions and remarks from Sara to Neil really hit the mark and should really be something for us to stop and think awhile before we pick up our camera. And these advises are really helpful for you to improve further in photography.

Shoot with intent

Sara asked a series of question to Neil when he showed her his photo series in Cuba.
“Why did you take this photo?”
”What are you trying to say with this photo?”
“Why were you in Cuba in the first place”
“What is it about Cuba that interests you?”

These questions essentially questioned him about the purpose and intent when he took the pictures. Shoot with intent, that was something I had discussed in another post previously. Think about what it is that you want to capture and what story your are trying to tell before you go out and hit the shutter. When you want to create photo series, projects or assignments, this is perhaps the best way to keep you focus and in check. You don’t end up coming back with a bunch of pictures and then only trying to force a story out of them.

There must be something that you would like to say through your photography

“Photography is a language. To most of us it’s a foreign language we are learning how to speak, but even if you are fluent in shutter speed and aperture, even if you know everything about bouncing flash and own the best camera on the market, the thing is if you don’t have something to say, then you’re pretty screwed.”

This was another strong remark from Sara to Neil. Photography is a language, is this the first time I hear this saying? Probably. But it certainly is an interesting analogy. You try to learn the basic, master the technique, and ultimately you would like to be able to speak fluently, and also getting your message across… in this regard, photography does work like a language, and it’s a common language across for everyone, allowing us the freedom to express ourselves in equal terms.

Don’t try to be someone else. Be yourself.

“Your images are more intimate and relatable when you’re not trying to be someone else.”

The last learning point I managed to grasp from the article is that one should shoot for yourself, don’t try too hard in copying others or mimicking others. You are truly you, hence you should follow your heart and shoot with your own style, tell your own stories, and just be yourself. When you try to copy others, you are deviating yourself from the true you, hence your photograph will not resonate with you.

It may sounds pretty fancy, but as with many other artistry work, one can hardly improve, be great and shine if one does not listen to his heart and letting his voice to be heard. Hope these tips help you in some way. Till then.

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