The word “attached” is defined in two ways: Two or more items can be physically attached when visually connected or joined together; Two things can be emotionally attached when strong feelings of affection or connection exist. Regarding photography, both definitions can be applied in addition to a third where they overlap. DEF 1 – A lens is physically attached to a camera body, a filter is physically attached to a lens, a flash gets attached to the hot-shoe. In conjunction, they all work in harmony. DEF 2 – It behooves us to become emotionally attached to the subjects we photograph to better understand their behavior, the weather, the light and more.

Below, I’ll discuss a third definition.

The more you become one with your equipment and fully understand the mechanics of your camera, the more it becomes an extension of your hand, shutter finger and brain. When the physical and emotional work in tandem, a relationship is established with what you photograph. You exponentially increase the percentage of coming home with winning images.

Tie Yourself To Your Camera And Subject Physically And Emotionally

I don’t propose you undergo some bizarre procedure wherein a surgeon literally attaches your camera to your hand like a prosthetic. I write metaphorically where you become so familiar with your gear, it’s as if the equipment becomes an extension of your body. No more fumbling to find settings or changing lenses. Compound that with the love you have for a certain landscape, wildlife species, the architecture of a city or another subject and the quality of your portfolio will be enhanced.

Connect With Your Subject

Return often, under different conditions, at different times of the year and with a different mindset. No one can guarantee dramatic light, a once-in-a-lifetime leap of a mountain goat, a lion taking down a zebra or a whale breaching. It, therefore, stands to reason the more often you revisit, the greater the chance you get the shot. The more often you revisit, the more you learn about the subject or the environment. Do you see what’s happening here? A more powerful attachment is being created! Additionally, the more you use the camera, the controls become more familiar as do the rest of the functions! An even greater and more powerful attachment is created!!

Go Back For More

As someone who leads safaris to the Serengeti, I’ve had numerous people return for a second, third and even fourth safari. Others ask me why some participants do this. I often have the following conversation— “What’s your favorite type of chocolate?” Regardless of the answer, I continue, “Have you purchased and consumed it often?” Of course, they say “yes,” and I simply smile and wait for them to make the connection.

Think about that chocolate. Does the person sometimes let it melt in their mouth? Do they sometimes chew it quickly? Do they sometimes start by letting it melt and then chew the remainder? Think more about that chocolate. Does the person sometimes purchase varied brands? Does the hunger level at the time it’s consumed impact the flavor and how it’s eaten? As you become more powerfully attached to a given subject, each time it will “taste” a bit different—sometimes better, sometimes worse, but never bad. With each combination of the above, a different experience is had. Some are better than others. At times, it’s off-the-charts amazing. In the same way a person becomes more powerfully attached to that chocolate, the same holds true for their connection with their camera and the subject. 

Study It

You go to a destination, make a sunrise or sunset photo and head back feeling good about the shot. What if you got there 10 minutes earlier or stayed 15 minutes later? What if during your visit you walked 20 paces to your right or left? What if you raised or lowered your tripod? What if you did both? Something compelled you to make the shot you took, but did you get the best one possible? Allow yourself to get more powerfully attached to the subject to be able to answer that question. If you deny yourself the opportunity, you could miss the potential for so much more. Study the subject, invest the time and make a connection. Further connect with the subject and make more photos. The odds are good that small changes in location just may provide a better photo than the one you just made. Walk around and study the light. Watch for compelling compositions that call your name. Get down low to change your perspective. If possible, get up high and look down for unique angles. Every additional minute provides a more powerful attachment. I suddenly had a craving for my favorite chocolate!

To learn more about this subject, join me on a photo safari to Tanzania. Visit to get more information.

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