The Problem with Shooting from the Hip (And the Solution to It)

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Shooting from the hip is a widely acknowledged Lomo-Technique. Whether it’s just a technique you like to use every once in a while or it’s your life’s motto, shooting from the hip can be frustrating. But there are always answers to photo problems!

Lomography’s fourth golden rule is cleverly titled “Shoot From The Hip”. A strange idiomatic and common colloquialism of the English language, for one to “shoot from the hip” it normally means just to wing it and do something without really considering the effects of one’s actions. Here in LomoLand, it takes on a more literal meaning while still retaining the same values that the ironic phrase carries around with it. When keeping a strict connection to your viewfinder, unless you put yourself in some awkward and painful position, you’re generally only going to capture vertical range of about 1-2 meters, or however tall you may be while standing or crouching. If a photographer liberates themselves from the binding elements of a viewfinder, they can experience a whole new exciting world of photos taken from a perspective that is rarely seen in your everyday travels and actions. But like any good photo technique, there are downfalls to it, but like all downfalls there ways to counter your problems!

One of the most common problems people encounter while shooting from the hip is trouble getting their subject in frame. It is an understandable problem and one that can really only be solved by getting to know yourself and your habits best. For example, when shooting without a viewfinder I have a tendency to tilt my camera more upwards that I should. To neutralize the seemingly continuous upward notion of my photos I keep in mind to tilt my camera down. Learn which side you tend to lean towards and then do your best to counteract your tendencies! (If you really need it, you could get some spirit levels and slap it on your camera, but that would sort of ruin the whole shoot from the hip thing)

Another big problem that comes along with shooting from the hip is being unprepared. Many times when shooting from the hip it can come as a quick swift action like photographing a dog walking the opposite direction or you just so happen to see a car passing by that would look cool from a low angle. Whatever the situation, one of the ways to make sure your spontaneity and viewfinder liberation doesn’t go to waste is to always be prepared for what you’re shooting. If you have your camera with you, you might as well be fidgeting about with it, so do your best to always keep your camera ready to take a picture of whatever situation you’re in. Good ways to keep up with your surroundings and is to constantly be metering or focusing on potential objects for photographs around you. Any Lomographic mind should always should be prepared to shoot at any moment, thus helping your chance for a better hip shot.

One of the whole ideas of shooting from the hip is to unshackle yourself from the viewfinder of your camera. So if you’re going to be free, might as well get creative! Try to think of some angles that you couldn’t possibly get from with your viewfinder. Get low, get high, or go home. Get wacky!

Whether you always shoot from the hip, or you’re just trying it out for the first time, grab the camera of your choice let yourself free from your viewfinder prescription and get shooting from the hip!

written by fivedayforecast on 2011-08-13 #gear #tutorials #art #camera #tipster #lomography #holga #fisheye #lc-a #shooting-from-the-hip #select-type-of-tipster #select-what-this-tipster-is-about #diana

3 Comments

  1. aroninvt
    aroninvt ·

    One possible solution to this would be to practice "shooting from the hip" with a digital point and shoot camera. Sometimes I go out with a simple P&S digital and just shoot quick shots from random, weird angles without looking at the monitor. Then later I'll go through the camera to see what I got. The point is to practice "on the fly" shooting, without wasting film! I love film and all, but if I'm just fooling around I'll use digital. Film is expensive to develop where I live.

  2. disasterarea
    disasterarea ·

    Another tip is to learn to judge distances accurately, so you'll always know the precise zone focus setting to use on your Lomo LC-A

  3. iamdnierod
    iamdnierod ·

    thanks for the tip aroninvt!

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