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Up for Discussion – Photographing With a Friend

Today I have another guest blogger, Dee, from the blog Dee Gee’s Photography, and the subject today is about photographing with friends, or finding someone to go out and take photos with. It can be a hard thing to do or find, you have to be able to work together in some way. It has to be an equal relationship so that it works for both of you.  Dee has some great ideas of how it should work and how to make it good for both.

Photographing With a Friend

One of the best things about being part of a pair of photographers is that you always get to go out shooting with a friend. There are a lot of pros and a few cons to this, plus a few things to bear in mind. It also proves the point that it’s not the camera that makes thWM Built For Twoe difference, it’s the person behind the lens that makes an image. We’ve come back, time and time again with such different images from the same locations at the same times.

On the plus side, it’s great to have someone to motivate you to get up in the dark, on cold mornings, when bed and sleep are so wonderfully attractive, to make the most of the dawn twilight and golden hour. In a way it’s like having a buddy to do morning jogs with- when someone else is relying on you to be WM As the Tide Rolls Inthere, you are much less likely to find a reason not to go. No matter what time of day, you are more likely to get out there and just do it when you have someone to do it with.

You get instant feedback when you take a friend, especially one who can see what you are trying to achieve. In a way you also get to see the scene in front of you from someone else’s eyes because you’ll both frame the scene WM Jettydifferently. Different things will stand out as focal points for you and you get moments of “oh I never thought of that!” all of which feeds into a richer experience and a wider range of images than you might have shot on your own. From our experience, we still surprise each other with our different points of view and we’ve been WM Solstice Reflectionphotographing together for years.

Another good thing about photographing with a friend is you learn so much faster. It is nice to be able to double check with someone else about technical points because we are all good at remembering some things better than others and your friend probably has different strengths to you. In our case, Gee is far more knowledgeable about landscapes and I’ve got more experience with portraits and detail images. We swap that knowledge back and forth all the time and improve our skills constantly.

If there are any negatives to watch out for it’s being careful that one of you doesn’t dominate the session without allowing the other any input. This can sometimes happen when one photographer is WM Leatherbarrel Creekmuch more experienced than the other or because of personality type. At its worst, this sort of session just turns into an opportunity for the dominant photographer to lord it over the other.

Here are some hints and tips to bear in mind when you are photographing with a friend.

Say “Yes”- unless your friend is suggesting you scale a cliff in the dark or something ridiculously dangerous, just say ‘yes’ and give their ideas a go. The worst WM Platypus Countrythat could happen is you’ll get bad images and you’ll have learnt something. It may be that the only thing you’ll learn is that you can’t take that particular shot that particular way, but that’s still a step closer to working out how you can take that image you have in mind. Saying ‘yes’ also helps spark new and exciting ideas, just like brainstorming. Creatively, that brainstorming, positive vibe works wonders for your images.

Work with constructive feedback- this means find something positive about your friends work and making helpful suggestions for them to try. Nobody wins if you simply shut your friend down and tell them they are doing it wrong without giving them any hints or clues about how to do it right. If you are much more experienced than your friend cut them some slack WM Top Lake Sunset Postcardand remember what it was like when you were a learner. It doesn’t help if you overwhelm your less experienced friend with too much information at once, but let them learn at their own pace and go with what they are comfortable with. At the end of the day, this is supposed to be enjoyable and it won’t be for your less experienced friend if you make them feel inadequate.

Be open to suggestion- if you aren’t willing to learn then there’s no point photographing with a friend. You have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. It’s how we all learn and it’s the best way to be surprised by your own ingenuity. If you have someone with a lot of experience willing to show the ropes then soak in as much as you can and do what they suggest. Push WM Waiting for Sunsetyourself and be willing to make mistakes. We all make them and we all end up better photographers for learning how to fix them.

Gee and I have both been keen photographers for years, but we decided a year ago to get really serious about it and push ourselves to be the best we could be. We happen to have complementary skills that have served us well in teaching each other. Gee is naturally a technical thinker. He knows how to use the camera to its fullest and has taught me a lot about the relationships between the f stops, shutter speeds and ISO. My strengths have always been in the emotional connection with the image and the story it tells. I don’t think either of us would have enjoyed this journey half as much if we didn’t have each other to bounce off.

WM Lift OffIn the end, images capture a moment in time. There’s something special about having someone with you when you capture that moment because, between you and your friend, that image will always tell a thousand words.

You can find us on our Facebook page, 500px or follow us at Dee Gee’s Photography.

Dee.

I hope you will all help me thank Dee for the wonderful post, thank you Dee.  Here is a gallery with lots of photos from Dee and Gee.

69 Comments
  1. Great post Leanne.. Your blog is always informational and inspiring and the photography you post is always stunning!

    September 12, 2014
    • You’re welcome Russell Dee has written a great post for us and I’m you enjoyed it.

      September 12, 2014
    • Thanks Russell. We’re really glad you like it 🙂

      September 12, 2014
  2. Reblogged this on wndsmpsn and commented:
    nice

    September 12, 2014
  3. I loved this article and the fresh perspective it gave me on snapping with others/a friend. But, I find it’s too distracting to intentionally go out on a photographing=expedition with others.. I stray from my purpose and miss out on the unexpected surprises that suddenly appear in my peripheral vision.. so I’ll stick with my tried ‘n true.. heading out solo 😉

    September 12, 2014
    • I’m glad you like the article. When it comes to trips out it is good to stick to what you know. Hopefully some of the hints and tips will make your next trip out with a photographing friend more rewarding 🙂

      September 12, 2014
  4. I laughed at the topic. I wrote about my husband and my adventures doing photography too and had much the same to say. I also referenced an article from the Wall Street Journal about couples sharing interests that was good too.

    I could do with a few less 5 am wake-ups though when I’m on vacation!

    http://livingtheseasons.com/2013/07/17/sharing-a-passion-for-photography/

    Nancy

    September 12, 2014
    • Thanks Nancy. I know what you mean about the early starts! I’m not naturally an early riser so naturally most of our sunrise pictures are Gee’s. It is good for us as a couple, except for the occasional squabble, and it’s fun. I’ll be checking out your post asap.

      September 12, 2014
  5. Wow … all of those are beautiful images. Wonderful work Dee … or is it Dee and Gee … or Gee? I’m confused. D

    September 12, 2014
    • Thank you! Our family and friends have worked out which of us has taken which image most of the time, and we have something of a competition between us to get the most impressive image, but in the end we just hope people like the images for themselves 🙂

      September 12, 2014
      • I always say … I call as I see ’em … and all of your images were just divine! Loved them all … keep it up. D

        September 12, 2014
  6. Thanks once again Leanne for introducing two strong photographers. I have learnt so much just seeing their photos to improve my own. It reminds me to get up and get out to that magic hour and even though I see the same landscape here over and over there is still a lot to “see” and take.

    September 12, 2014
    • You’re welcome Kaz, sometimes that is the challenge, doing the same thing over and over and seeing how you would do it differently.

      September 12, 2014
    • Thanks for the lovely compliment Kaz. We’ve done the same, looked at others peoples images and found ourselves inspired to try something similar or simply learnt something from their work. Good thing there are so many great and inspirational photographers out there!

      September 12, 2014
  7. These are great images. Thanks for sharing the article.

    September 12, 2014
  8. The images are very nice – everything about them is just right. I usually shoot solo – although I did have an Urbex partner for about a year and that arrangement did work – but we would go to different sections (on the same floor) of the building so as not to get in each others way. We did come back with very different shots – even though we were in the same location. For me, I really do not want to interact with anyone when I’m focused (no pun) on shooting. Interesting post – thanks!

    September 12, 2014
    • Thank you for the compliments. 🙂 There is a time and place for everything and at the end of the day, even when you are photographing with a friend, it still just the one person behind the lens, it’s still just you and the moment. It doesn’t always work for everyone, sometimes the best thing about photography is the stillness of being alone in the moment. We’re glad you like the post.

      September 12, 2014
      • Yes, that is it…being alone in the moment, lost in my thoughts about how to best render the scene. Glad it works for some and your article prompted me to think about how I work.

        September 12, 2014
  9. I won’t to leave a comment here too today.

    I think it is something that is very different about men and women. Men are more comfortable going out on their own, but women have been brought up to believe there is harm everywhere and it isn’t safe for them, so I find it scary going to places on my own. I often think I will go somewhere by myself, but often, I find excuses not to go, so having company is good, and having someone that I know I can take photos with is a good thing, and I feel so much safer.

    September 12, 2014
    • That is a very perceptive observation Leanne, and something I hadn’t thought of. I know in summer my biggest worry is snakes and yes, it’s nice to have someone else with you for that safety factor. If something were to go wrong then it’s nice to know I’m not in an isolated location, possibly without phone reception all by myself. -Dee

      September 12, 2014
  10. Beautiful images, very inspiring. I prefer to go out with a friend. It’s more motivating for one thing and the company is great. I tend to feel a little exposed when I’m by myself. It’s also great having the instant feedback. We always come back with different images which is interesting 🙂

    September 12, 2014
    • Thank you for the lovely compliments. Instant feedback is one of the great perks of photographing with a friend and despite how long we’ve been photographing together we still surprise each other with our different points of view where ever we go. 🙂

      September 12, 2014
  11. Fabulous images!
    I can’t stop staring at that 1st one with the birds. WOW!

    September 12, 2014
    • Thanks! It’s one of our favourites. That’s a great example of the two of us working together as those pelicans weren’t in a hurry to go anywhere for ages. All Gee had to to was walk towards them and I was in the right place at the right time snapping away like mad… 🙂 -Dee

      September 12, 2014
  12. Nice post, now if I can just find a friend :0. -shawn pagels

    September 12, 2014
    • Thanks Shawn! If you are ever down our way you are welcome to come out with us 🙂

      September 12, 2014
  13. Yes, I have to agree with you Leanne about the fear of going out on your own. I do have my Pit bull terrier dog that keeps me company when I go out in the mornings, but even then I am still apprehensive. Great post and I LOVE the images!!! they are beautiful.

    September 12, 2014
    • Thank you pixalilie 🙂 Gee has said recently that it is something that plays on his mind too, so the safety aspect seems more widespread then you’d think at first.

      September 12, 2014
  14. Beautiful images and good ideas. Thank you both!

    September 12, 2014
  15. Lee #

    I always have a friend with me. He is my husband of 51 yrs. We enjoy our birdwatching adventures together. We help each one find a bird so we can photograph it. 🙂
    I shoot 5 to his 1, but then he knows what he is doing/ 🙂

    September 12, 2014
    • Wow, congratulations on your marriage… Gee and I hope we make it that long. I’m the same as you most of the time… I like snapping away madly because it’s fun, plus I think like a portrait photographer, I’m used to people blinking or making weird faces so I take ten shots to get that one where the person looks happy and natural. But lately I have been taking a page out of his book and taking more time to think and plan the shot… doesn’t always work, but I can see why it can be a good approach. The best thing- we are always learning together and having fun. (Except for the ticks that seem to love me but never bite him, lol)- Dee

      September 12, 2014
  16. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

    Wow, I love those pelicans! All the images are beautiful. 🙂

    September 12, 2014
    • Thanks Jackie! This is a collection of some of our favourites but it was hard to narrow it down for the post. Sometimes it feels like our favourite image is the one we’ve just taken 🙂

      September 12, 2014
  17. Amazing photos!

    September 12, 2014
  18. lovely work will check out the other links. I agree about men being more adventurous, I wont go to dangerous beaches on my own , not long ago I was on an excursion with a group of togs and two of them got bold over by a wave , that was a dangerous beach, luckly there were plenty of people on hand. they both lost there equipment in the water. One of them had quite bad cuts and had to be stitched.

    September 12, 2014
    • Thank you Christine. Gee is certainly braver the me on the rocks. I just think that no photo is worth either getting swept away for or losing all our gear for, but I think he’s just more confident about what he can and can’t get away with. Having said that, like the togs in your example, you can be as confident as you like, no one can predict Mother Natures next big wave! I’m really glad they were both ok. -Dee

      September 12, 2014
  19. Fabulous images! Thank you to both leeanne and dee. I specially like the pelicans.

    September 12, 2014
    • Thank you treesshrubs. We love the pelicans too. Luckily there are a lot near where we live so we get to practice on them a lot 🙂

      September 12, 2014
  20. Very good points raised here about one photographer not dominating the other, it is something I haven’t thought of. It definitely improves my images when I photograph with a friend because it allows me to see how they view the world to an extent and see the contrast between our sets of photographs. Really stunning photographs from Dee and Gee here, thanks for the guest post. 🙂

    September 12, 2014
    • Thank you Manal. It is good to get that contrast isn’t because sometimes once you see something that someone else has seen you see the scene in front of you with a new perspective.

      September 12, 2014
  21. It was great fun when I tagged along with you Leanne.

    September 12, 2014
    • I think it is a great thing to do, always a great social thing to do too.

      September 12, 2014
  22. I sometimes go for walks with other photographers in some sort of camera club. It’s nice, but very often the discussions are too boring and technical for me… (example. “how’s the frame rate on this camera model versus that” ,etc, etc,).

    September 12, 2014
    • You should go out with women, they never talk about that stuff, they talk composition, what they are trying to do, that sort of thing.

      September 13, 2014
      • Sounds much better! I guess I’m a woman somewhere deep inside me 🙂

        September 13, 2014
      • MM maybe, LOL, if you ever get to Melbourne, you will have to come out with me.

        September 13, 2014
    • Leanne is right- I’m not one for technobabble either. On the down side, if you go out on a shoot with women you’ll probably have to talk about your feelings, lol 🙂

      September 13, 2014
      • Now,I know that isn’t true, we talk photography, but not in a technical way, and how we are feeling never comes up, it is irrelevant.

        September 13, 2014
      • I’m often feeling inspired, hopeful, excited, nervous, and rather zen when I’m out taking pictures. Poor Gee has to listen to me all the time 🙂

        September 13, 2014
  23. Love the photos, and your entire blog. Your talent in photography is truly amazing. Your posts inspire me to do better with my own passion.

    September 12, 2014
    • That’s wonderful, but do you mean me, or Dee, the photos in this post aren’t mine, but it is wonderful if you mean the whole blog, so thank you.

      September 13, 2014
    • Thanks for the compliments about the photos- we’ve been really inspired by Leanne too. It’s nice to be able to come here and search through her blog for interesting discussions, great photos and tips and techniques. -Dee

      September 13, 2014
  24. I had never really thought about it, but you are exactly right, now that you’ve pointed it out… I see the merit in the idea. These are fabulous photos all the way around! 😀 Thanks for the good idea, now I just have to find someone to go with me… LOL

    September 13, 2014
    • Thank you! We hope you find someone one. It can be such a fun and rewarding experience with the right partner.

      September 13, 2014
  25. It would be great to have a photo buddy!

    September 13, 2014
  26. Reblogged this on Dee Gee's and commented:
    Thank you Leanne for sharing our thoughts on photographing with a friend. I really enjoyed the experience of being a guest blogger. It’s given me some thoughts and ideas about new post for here. -Dee

    September 13, 2014
    • You’re very welcome, you did me a favour too, so thank you as well.

      September 13, 2014
  27. Beautiful images and a helpful post.

    September 13, 2014
  28. Thank you for this….very enlightening! I always tend to go solo – for some odd reason I feel I can concentrate more. But – perhaps it is because I have not found the right person to go shooting with – as I am sure it can be everything you have said – and more!

    September 14, 2014
  29. At work, 4 regulars have gotten together to exchange weekend pictures. We critique and help each other to explore different aspects. One does portraits and people really well, another is great on composition (his brother is a photographer in New York), number 3 is a lens perfectionist (no post-processing) and I am a bit of a hack at HDR / Industrial. Together we have helped each other to vastly improve and expand our capabilities. Every 3 months we pic a common theme and have a few weeks to take some shots to compare – often it is of the same subject using our preferred styles. A friend, our even a few, is great for self improvement if you are prepared to open up…

    September 14, 2014
  30. Amazing collaborative ! I wish I had a partner in photography as well !

    September 15, 2014
  31. That is such a rewarding story to read. I think Dee and Gee are very fortunate in having that relationship that obviously works so well with photography in mind

    September 17, 2014
  32. I always work alone

    September 18, 2014
  33. This is a great set.

    September 23, 2014
  34. I generally shoot alone but I do have 1 or 2 photographers who I really enjoy working with whenever they are available. We always learn together really well. My only requirement is they have to be photo-geeks otherwise they will easily get bored or lose patience…LOL

    September 23, 2014

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