Earlier this week, Ben, Hudson Henry and I had a lively discussion about the concept of practice. Over the course of an hour, we talked about many things, including:

  • Why people don’t generally think about ‘practice’ as something essential to photographic training (for example, unlike music, which is based around the idea of practicing);
  • Learning to practice the art of ‘seeing’;
  • Things we can do to get out of a rut;
  • The importance of looking at the work of great photographers as part of your photographic practice; and
  • How to think about practice as it pertains to your own photography.

Click the video above to watch, here or over on YouTube.

Building a photographic practice

Ben points out that we have to get over the notion that “practice is something you go do for a set amount of time and then you’re done…This is the dual nature of the word ‘practice.’ You practice photography, and you also have a photography practice. Practice is a state of mind that you should just be living in all the time.”

This concept is one of the key things that we emphasize in our workshops, critiques and one-on-one sessions. It has also been top of mind for Ben and I over the past months: We are in the midst of finishing Ben’s next book, The Practicing Photographer. This new book is a collection of essays about practice, with thoughts about how it can make you a better shooter. (It will ship in mid-November; we’ll have more details as the date gets closer.)

If you’re interested in specific ideas for practicing, check out our recent post, Photography Practice: Single Focal Length Challenge, or download our free Exercise Book PDF, a companion to the 9th edition of Complete Digital Photography. The PDF can be found at the top of the book support page here on the website. A few of the exercises are specific to CDP, but there are plenty of other ideas that you can use to incorporate into your own practice.

About Office Hours

On a side note, I’ve been helping Hudson out with his live Office Hours Zoom/YouTube every other Tuesday. They’re a fun way to spend an hour with a bunch of folks interested in photography. We usually have a topic, and answer questions on a variety of things photographic. You can sign up for the next session on Hudson’s Office Hours page, or you can look at past Office Hours over on Hudson’s YouTube channel.

[My apologies for the audio sync issues with my feed in the video; I’ve changed my camera setup, and clearly still have some kinks to work out.]