12-month photo project – first lessons taught

My hubby and I have made four little trips since the beginning of the year to get some interesting photos of buildings for the first month of our 12-month photo project and already those little trips taught me a few lessons that I would like to share with you.

Lesson 1: Take your time

If you are busy, you usually don’t want to waste the time you have and hurry in many regards. But photography needs certain slowing down, pushing away other matters and paying full attention to what you see, what you perceive, what you are looking for. Thinking about it, making your choices, using a tripod if necessary, and especially not regretting the time you needed for the shooting, even if results are not as wonderful as you hoped. They will be better next time.

I took the following photos of the church and a few details from its premises in Vícov u Přeštic. The first captures were of the obvious, the church, after some time of being there I started to play with other ideas.

Lesson 2: Don’t forget that when you shoot with someone else at the same place, even the same theme, your shooting is NOT meaningless, even if the other person is a better photographer than you are

Isn’t it interesting that when you place two (or more) people in the same spot and tell them to capture the place with their cameras, their sets of photos will be very different from one another? I get this experience over and over.

Many years ago, my hubby and I bought an analogue SLR that was able to focus automatically, it was our first Canon SLR camera. It would have been too expensive for us to buy two cameras so we had just that one and were using it both. Although so much time has passed, I remember like it was yesterday that while on a trip to mountains, we came to a place with a great view and my hubby, who was holding the camera, took a photo of that scene and I walked away, disappointed that it wasn’t my turn to shoot. He tried to persuade me that I could shoot as well and take my own photos but I was stubborn and refused. Nowadays I know better but I need to be reminded of the fact again and again, it is still difficult to absorb.

I took the following photos in Beroun and although my hubby likes them, he admits that he wasn’t inspired by the scenes during our stay in the town at all…

Lesson 3: Focus on your goal

For every month of our project, there is a theme, and January is represented by “buildings”. On those little trips, my hubby focused on the theme diligently, made his effort to capture buildings and already has a variety of interesting captures. I have a few photos up my sleeve as well but I can see that I got easily distracted. As our son remarked when he saw our photos from the last trip – “I see, dad took photos of buildings while mom of everything else.” Exaggerated, but true. In Dobřany I took a photo of an advertising stand, a bench, even a tractor…




There are buildings in the photos but just as part of the background, they should be the featured part. I like the photos and I’m glad I took them because next time the scenes don’t have to be there but time is a scarce commodity and if you devote it to one thing, you can’t devote it to another. Also, I am sure that my focusing on the details instead of on the theme itself is no chance, we tend to do what is easier for us, don’t we?

Lessons to be continued… 🙂



  1. I could relate to the lessons you’ve learned, Petra, especially the first one about not hurrying. I like all of these. Am I the only one to see a face on the first building…the two windows for eyes, the awning over the door for a nose, and the door itself for the mouth? Anyway, it made me smile. It doesn’t seem to me that you’re violating the theme by including other things of interest in the shot. Some of my favorites here include the gate, the man walking on the curved street, and the park bench. It’s important to keep the theme in mind, but it’s also important to realize that every scene you observe will never appear exactly the same way again. So capture it while you can. 🙂

    1. I’m pleased that you like all these photos of mine, Linda, none of them was just point-and-shoot experience. And I’m so very pleased that you can see the face on the church! I showed it to Milan and he didn’t see it until I explained. It looks so funny. 🙂 That’s another example of how differently we see the things around us.

      Focusing on the theme versus capturing other things that may not be seen again is much of a dilemma. There will be more difficult themes than just buildings and so learning to focus on the goal feels very important. One can’t have it all…

  2. The most important lesson is “Take you time”, and I can see that you did. When it comes to buildings, I too took mostly “architectural” shots, but I find that in most cases I find that I enjoy my photos more when they are in a setting – that is – includes people (or animals) doing one thing or another. It is often a matter of taste, since the photos become totally different.

    1. Rune, thanks for sharing your thoughts. “Take you time” is easier to understand than to accept, I need to work on it. 🙂

      When you set a theme, there is the freedom of visualising and interpreting it so I think there is not just one answer to how the photos should look. Yet there are some expectation and I will see at the end of the month where they took me.

  3. My sense is that when you have a theme, you should be able to “get away with murder” in any way you want. Isn’t that what you’re saying in the end…that there’s always more than one way to skin the cat! Good for you, Petra.

    1. Ginnie, thank you for sharing your opinion and also for making me familiar with a few interesting English phrases I hadn’t known. 🙂

      This morning we went to shoot again and I tried to focus primarily on the buildings and that felt good, it was a different experience I’m grateful for. Sometimes it’s rewarding to focus one’s thoughts into a single beam.

  4. Beverly

    Your monthly theme is a really good idea to focus on for photography. Your explanation of each of you “seeing” differently through the lens, is really what photography is all about, isn’t it? I’m guessing your heart is secretly leading you to include some of the “extras” along with the buildings, which I enjoyed seeing your view. My hubby and I take totally different angles and views when we shoot together. Your duo project seems like one you’ll both grow and enjoy together through the year. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I learned a few things also. I LOVE the church and the statute with all the bows and ornaments.

    1. Beverly, thank you for your comment and for the appreciation. You’re right, the different way of seeing the world around us and sharing it in pictures is the essential feature of photography… It never ceases to amaze me. Our children are old enough now to stay at home without us and we have those hours of shooting to spend together and enjoy, which is wonderful, I’m grateful for the occasions.

  5. This is some perfect photography here.. I love the snow and the perfect locations. Ginnie and I always come up with a total different view on the locations we go… that is the fun part of it.

    1. Astrid, thank you for the praise. After several years of mild winters we have quite cold and snowy January and I like how the weather is reflected in the photos. I agree, it’s fun to see the different views… sometimes they are absolutely unexpected.

  6. It is fun to go on a photography outing with a friend, or husband. I have a photography friend and we try to go out once a month to take pictures. I learn from her and she learns from me. It is amazing how two people can have such different pictures of the same subject. I love being able to take our time, it is so important as you made it your first lesson. My husband and I use to share a camera, but we would argue over who took what picture…he sticks to his iphone now. 🙂 Great pictures and lessons.

    1. Thank you, Michelle, for the praise. After those few trips I am quite happy that there is someone on my photo walks who I can communicate with about photography, especially someone whose opinion and attitude are enriching. He makes me feel more confident. I’m pleased to hear that you have a photography friend you go shooting with, it’s so different experience.

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