» Photography: Stretch Before You Exercise
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Photography: Stretch Before You Exercise


Painting by Degas.


We’ve all heard that it’s best to stretch before you exercise, right? Actually, I think they say dynamic stretching is even better for you, but either way, the point is to warm up your muscles. Well, the same goes for photography.

I’m not saying you should stretch before you photograph, though it might help. I mean take about 15min or so to warm up with your camera. This will get you in the rhythm and wake up your eyes, your melon, your hand/eye coordination, and get your creative imagination flowing. Something coffee can’t do unfortunately. We’ve all been on shoots where it takes a while to get into the rhythm of things. Well, try stretching before your shoot.

Find a subject…setup a bottle, toy, dog, sister, telephone pole…whatever you can find, then start working around it. Find the light source, then circle the subject. Use different angles, focal lengths, lining it up to the grid, working with FGR, squint to find the GAC, edge flicker, minding your exposure, close one eye, blur your vision, and look for an arabesque. All these things will get you warmed up for when that bride comes out, or your model gets on set, or when the family arrives at the location, or when that random character walks out onto the street.

You can even do this stretching exercise when you don’t have a client and aren’t able to go shooting outside. Just walk around your house, establish a light source, the subject, and you’re on your way.  It’s just like a fighter warming up before a fight by shadow boxing. We need to keep you thinking and give you the experience through repetition so your motor skills take over and your creativity can spill out of you!


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