Shoot less, think more : New Photography Mantra

Okay, I'll spit the truth out.
I am not an expert in using film. In fact the last time I used a film camera was when my first priority was to score full marks in every subject. (Total geek, I know) As far as film goes, I still clearly remember my dad being furious that I had wasted an entire roll of 36 on a school excursion, where we did nothing except sitting and chatting with our school nuns and teachers by the pool. He also may have chided that I was the worst photographer he had ever seen. Well he was totally right. Who takes 36 pictures of people talking by the pool in the dark?? (with flash mind you) Probably the reason why I loved my digital years later, because I could instantly delete my crappy angles and not let my dad know that it took me 36 frames to get it right.  

My interest and growth in this business started much later with a Canon digital and I loved it. What's not to love about it. It gave me the power to make as many errors as I wanted, delete them, correct them and learn from them.

Cut to 8 years later, I used a film camera recently during a fashion shoot and I was so cautious of pressing the shutter button that I almost never clicked any photograph (thanks dad) hah!
But it's absolutely magical to shoot with a film - makes it exclusive. It has an adrenaline rush to anticipating a moment, analyzing the perfect settings and pushing the trigger. Oh and the wait until the role gets developed..ooh! Gives me the chills. An adventure of its own kind.
Here are some of the images shot on the old Canon 630 manual camera this June in Mumbai, India.


Digital made me fall in love with the way life changed, fixed, turned and bounced around me and the best part, I could capture all of it without worrying about wasting rolls.
I was in love all the time, with what I saw, how I saw, how I din't see and so on. I walked around with a huge grin on my face, shooting every step I took, every leaf that turned until few years ago where I started to miss a film camera. As I looked back at all my photos shot on this digital, I saw several shots with the subject in the same condition, with the same expression, same pose except my angles moved by half an inch around it. Result?? Wastage of shutter counts + long hours of selection meaning I was spending more time deciding whether I want that half an inch or not. Check my contact sheet from a shoot from 2012

Contact sheet from Fogs of Mind 2012

Contact sheet from Fogs of Mind 2012

It took me a lot of time to be finalize one image. It was difficult to choose because you end up liking each and every shot that you made. But as they say it kill your darlings. 
After much contemplation, I finally settled to this. 

Extract from Fogs of Mind (click to see the entire project)

Extract from Fogs of Mind (click to see the entire project)

As to why I missed the film you ask?

Several reasons but the most important was - being a perfectionist. Since you know you have limited frames on a film, you develop a habit to imagine more, compose better, stay on your toes, anticipate, take a chance and make the most of your vision. In film, it's a now or never situation. If you think about it, it really helps in building your efficiency and an assertive attitude. In short it makes you a perfectionist. 
What if we could think more, analyze more and shoot less now? In a way we could hone our composing skills and save our shutter count too! 

It's been a while that I take conscious efforts while shooting, to look through the view finder, think more about the composition, make adjustments, look again, make some more changes and THEN click the button. What's the hurry? Unless of course it's Brad Pitt walking by! 

What do you think about this new mantra? Do you use it already?
I would love to hear it all in the comments below :)