How a Point and Shoot Introduced Me to a New World of Photography
Seeing small moments in an epic new way
At the beginning of 2020, my girlfriend gifted me a point and shoot as a gift for our five year anniversary. Over a year later, this tiny little camera has single-handedly changed my perception of what photography is, and brought me more joy than I could have ever imagined.
My Historic Relationship with Photography
Photography to me has always been the purpose of an activity, never the byproduct. Since my work focuses primarily on travel and adventure, anytime I am shooting it is usually a part of a pre-planned event.
Before going places, I research locations, brainstorm ideas, make decisions on equipment, all before I’m actually shooting. These things are important to getting the images I want to capture, and I won’t be taking them away when I shoot that type of photography. However, a byproduct of this diligent approach is that it is how I have historically approached shooting any type of photography.
A Shift in Perspective
Once I got my Leica, though, everything changed. I started to bring it with me everywhere: out to restaurants, to drinks with friends, on casual errands, anywhere I could. In turn, I ended up using the camera in a more spontaneous manner. Rather than taking out my camera and looking for something to capture, I had already seen what I wanted to capture and the camera was coming out at the end to capture the moment.
What resulted was me seeing moments as they occurred, and capturing the ones that mattered. The final products were images of moments I cared about. And I ended up capturing the beauty of everyday life.
For a long time I’ve tied photography with this need for something epic. Whether it be landscapes, wildlife, or foreign destinations: I wanted to use my camera to capture the extreme. Carrying a point and shoot has taught me how to see beauty in what may otherwise be considered as mundane.
What I Learned
Through carrying my camera with me everywhere I went, I started to learn more about both photography and myself. I learned that there are images everywhere, moments that go un-captured all the time. Beautiful, small moments that years from now I may forget ever happened.
I learned that the little moments in retrospect can feel as big as the epic ones. Over a year into this pandemic, I look back on photos from the weekend out before lockdown with friends and they hit me harder than some of the coolest landscapes I have.
I took the image above on an evening during the height of quarantine. I was writing outside on the deck and couldn’t help but notice how peaceful everything seemed. So I went and grabbed my camera and was able to capture the moment before the fleeting moment had passed.
The exercise of always having a camera with me that was easy to use also gave me the joy of sharing photography with others. With a simpler camera, I could get the settings right and pass it around for people to use without being worried. And when the night was over I could come home and see what everyone had shot.
Throughout acquiring this new habit, I learned a lot about myself as both a photographer and a human. And through it I’ve garnered a few takeaways.
The first being that as crazy as it sounds, I need to take more photos to capture my everyday life, and I think you should too. I’ve learned any moment you may have today may be special six months from now. And if it isn’t, when you look back on the photo, just delete it.
The other aspect that I continue to internalize is that for me, having a camera to use instead of my phone makes a difference. A camera is a single purpose tool, I can’t pick it up to take a photo and end up scrolling through TikTok on accident. It also allows me to keep my phone put away while I am out with friends.
And lastly, having a point and shoot is fun. It’s a fun camera to have around. It’s like the disposable cameras of old. It’s casual. It’s discrete. It’s not intimidating to people that aren’t used to having their portrait taken. It’s easy to use and hand off to friends. I can’t emphasize enough how fun it is to come home to find the images your friends took while they had the camera.
As you can probably imagine, I highly recommend getting a point and shoot and taking it everywhere you go. Whether you view yourself as a photographer or not, it’s a tool that will help you extract joy out of the small moments in life, and I think we could all gain benefit from that.
I hope this article helps you in your ventures ahead! If you need any of the equipment I talked about in this article, I’ve left some links to my tools for the job below. Full disclosure, the links provided are affiliate links.
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