When I go out into nature, I see myself as a guest. It’s like me showing up at your house unannounced, expecting you to make me a fillet mignon, medium rare. Then I get a bowl of oatmeal and I’m upset. That would be kind of wrong. If I showed up at your house unannounced, I’d be happy if you gave me a glass of water.
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In this episode, I speak with nature photographer Simmie Reagor. Simmie has a very healthy approach to photography, choosing to prioritise enjoyment over perfection. His very first photoshoot was an unexpected wedding photography assignment. Today, he takes stunning photographs of nature in Connecticut and beyond.
We talk about:
- How to overcome the pressure to take the “hero shot” every time
- The pros and cons of offline photography clubs
- How to make the most of any landscape as a photographer
& much more!
Simmie is a talented photographer who respects nature and goes with the flow. This is a very relaxed conversation that’s perfect for anyone who wants to slow down and enjoy photography more.
Here is a preview of our conversation with Simmie Reagor.
Q: What advice would you give to photographers who want to slow down?
Simmie Reagor: I would suggest going to a place without your camera and making the pictures in your mind, trying to see things in your headspace first, and enjoying the moment. If you do that enough times, you’ll slow down and you’ll start to see better.
Today’s cameras are so good. You almost don’t need a tripod for anything anymore, but I still carry one. After I get the scene or the subject that interests me, I’ll try to see it at whatever angle I can without the tripod and think about it. I’ll get the tripod out once I think of how I’m going to make this particular image. Then I’ll frame it, and then I’ll contemplate.
Why am I taking the shot? Almost like second guessing myself, but in a constructive way.
Q: In an interview with Black Female Landscape Photographers, you said that it’s important to find a subject that sparks your interest and to show that subject in the best light. What tips would you give for photographing subjects in the best light?
Simmie Reagor: When I first began landscape photography, I was all about getting the hero shot or going to the epic location. Now, I just enjoy the moment while I’m out in nature. I’m not really looking for anything in particular and I’m just being open to what’s being presented in front of me.
Q: Your first assignment as a beginner was a wedding photoshoot, which you weren’t prepared for. What advice would you give to beginners in photography who find themselves in situations like that?
Simmie Reagor: Number one, take a deep breath and concentrate on whatever your subject happens to be. Try your best to highlight that subject in the best way possible.
I’m in a local camera club and the most difficult thing for most of the new members is dealing with their camera and learning how to use it. They hear a lot of advice about shooting in RAW and shooting in manual. It can be a little daunting for everyone.
Usually, my advice to very new members is to just put their camera into Automatic or P mode and concentrate on the basics of photography. Let the camera do most of the work. After you get more comfortable learning the different guidelines and rules of photography, you can learn your camera. That way, the camera isn’t a hindrance to you getting even better.