04/30/2012 11:28 am ET Updated Jun 30, 2012

Pack Music in Your Camera Bag (PHOTOS)

You love making photographs. You love listening to music. Have you ever combined the two? Just like how a powerful soundtrack can set the mood in a film, music can play a part in your photography. I'm not talking about adding music to a slide show. I'm talking about making music an integral part of your shooting and post processing experience.

I am often fascinated by what photographers put in their camera bags. We've all seen the online videos where a photographer opens up his or her camera bag and lays all the contents out on a table. Very seldom do I hear mention of music as part of their kit. It seems like everyone exercising in a gym has earbuds in their ears, but rarely so I encounter photographers enjoying tunes while they shoot. OK, maybe the people in the gym need some form of entertainment to keep them from going insane as they peddle a bike that's going nowhere but my point is that music is so portable in this day and age. Photographers will carry five lenses in their bag on a hike up a mountain and often only use one or two. I suggest leaving some of the extra kit at home and bringing along some creative inspiration.

The images we make are very much affected by our mood. Music can greatly influence our mood. Use that to your advantage in your work. Maybe you're the type of person who doesn't like any distractions when you are shooting. Fine, then listening to music while you are working is not for you but that doesn't mean you can't listen to a few tunes prior to a shoot. Professional athletes can't listen to music either when they're working but you often see them getting off the bus prior to a big game with headphones on. They are getting in the zone. If you've never listened to music prior to a shoot give it a try and see if music helps you get in the zone.

I know many photographers who like to listen to music while they are shooting. Many studio photographers use music to make models comfortable and the environment less techy and more creative. If tastes are similar, music can facilitate an instant connection between photographer and subject. In my experience making the subject more comfortable is way more important and productive that making me comfortable so I always allow my models to choose the music.

So I've talked about incorporating music into your photography before and during shooting. How about adding music to your post processing workflow? I find listening to music as I edit images to not only be entertaining but it also fuels my creativity. Let's be honest. Some days, all cylinders are firing when you are editing images and other days it's a slow grinding process. Make it a more enjoyable experience with some tunes. Besides the entertainment factor, I also use music during my editing to put me back in the frame of mind I was in when I captured an image. I play the same music I listened to when I was on a shoot and I find it helps me focus on what drew me to capture the image in the first place. Music helps me bridge the time gap between shooting and editing.

Next time you are packing your gear for a shoot, make sure you throw in some tunes. The music might not only change your mood, it might change your photography.


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