Tutorials: shooting from the hip

In this month’s tutorials, we’re exploring what happens when you throw the photography rulebook out and let your instincts guide you to spectacular images. When you shoot more spontaneously it can lead to accidental, beautiful, striking images which perfectly capture a moment or feeling.


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Nani Puspasari, Street Artist
Usage Rights: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/


Children react to their surroundings instinctively and live in the moment, so when they see something that catches their eye, they often take pictures first and ask questions later. As adults, we tend to lose the ability to let go. So sometimes the best way to capture a moment is to shoot as a child might, without overthinking the technical elements.

Using the automatic modes on your camera allows you to concentrate on searching for images to frame. Scene modes such as Sport mode make the camera reactive and fast paced to capture a moment.

Using a different lens can also spark inspiration. For example you might try switching to a wide-angle lens.

At an advanced level, it’s more about combining inquisitiveness with reaction. Get to know your camera intimately so that you can adjust all the settings and controls just by touch. Keep track of the three main exposure settings on the camera and be ready to adjust them as the light around you changes. These are:

  • Aperture - controls the area over which light can enter your camera
  • Shutter speed - controls the length of the exposure
  • ISO speed - controls the sensitivity of your camera's sensor to available light

Being familiar with these settings will help you capture the magic of twilight, beautiful low light interior shots and bright outdoor moments.