Agile Photography manifesto

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Agile was created in 2001 as an lightweight methodology for software development. But I believe that their core values can be extended to many other scenarios (professional and personal).

I have had long discussions with my mentor Chris Kruppa about what is the real meaning of agile principles. He always points me to the simplicity of a single word, Agile is all about learn.

In this post I will show my interpretation of agile principles and also how they help you to keep learning. Below are the four pillars of the photography manifesto:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools (Learn from others). The most expensive camera is just a piece of plastic if you don’t know how to use it. Having a good camera is important, but what makes a great photographer is the ability to create art with it. In order to achieve this you need to learn composition, color harmony and other skills that can be improved by interacting with other photographers. When you find someone that took a great picture and you don’t know how they did it, ask them! Learn from others will take you further than having the best equipment.
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Picture was taken using a 100$ camera bought on 2012

  • Taking pictures over thinking what pictures to take (Learn from experience). If I learned something in photography is that one of the most important habits of a great photographer is to shoot a lot and often. It doesn’t matter if you’re not sure if you set the good lightning or all the settings are perfect. I usually start with an initial shot to see what is the scene light status. After that I continue with multiple shots to adapt setings to the correct lightning. I continue making more shots with combinations of focus and scene elements. After several iterations I take better and better pictures of the scene. Other times the perfect picture appears on a random shot.
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Random shot to a light bulb can be beautiful

  • Model collaboration over model request (Learn from situation). Working with models can be challenging sometimes. They have their own idea of a perfect creation. For instance, someone small ask you to make him tall or someone fat ask you to make him thinner. Those requests are not always possible for the photographer. Therefore he must work with the model to find the best way to take a great shoot. Always remember that both model and photographer have the same objective, a great picture.
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I was the model, I don’t like to shoot selfies, but this is an exception

  • Responding to change over following a plan (Learn from changes). When you go to a special location to make a shooting you will always have with some idea of what you want to bring back. For example, when I visited Tokyo I was really interested to have a shot of the golden pagoda with the sun raise creating a gold reflection over the lake. Well it sounds like a great plan, the problem is that the only day that I had in Tokyo for this was raining. I had to adapt, in the end I was able to take some great pictures.
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Overslept in the bus, and woke up in the river

Same as in the agile manifesto, while there is value on the items on the right, I value the items on the left more.

One day, after the shooting was over, I was talking with my model. She told me that indeed my pictures where good, but anyone could have took them. This is the best way of representing the beauty of agile principles. Anyone applying very simple principles for learning from their experience, mistakes, situation and people can create great results.

What about you? do you apply Agile principles in other areas of your live? Feel free to add a comment.