Train Yourself to See Good Photographs Before You Take Them

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Maybe you’ve a busy Saturday planned, a trip to Home Depot or to Bed Bath and Beyond if you have time.  When you pack yourself into your car be sure to throw your camera (gently) onto your back seat.  You don’t need your DSLR either, you could throw a point and shoot or mirror-less camera in your purse (or your wife’s).  You don’t need to devote an hour to taking pictures today, just a few minutes.  Keep your eyes open and look for something really interesting or different as you go about your busy Saturday.  Look for interesting reflections, old tractors or cars, symmetry, or broken down buildings and walls with lots of color.

Work on training your eye as you’re walking around today, you should say “that would make a neat picture” at least a dozen times.  Most people who spend a considerable amount of time with me probably get tired of me asking “what do you think of that?  That would make a cool photograph.”  The more you do this the more you’ll notice that you see things more often than you had.

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I’ve walked up these steps, from Station Square to the Smithfield Street Bridge, many times and always thought it was very aesthetically pleasing.  Without the lamp-post the shot looks plain and boring but once you combine the post with the glow of the round bulb on the leafs behind it I felt it portrayed that comfortable feeling that I feel each time I pass it.

Have you ever gone someplace and felt an immediate comfort or appeal but you were unable to pin point what exactly it was that made you feel that way?  Maybe if someone asked you you’d ramble off a half-dozen different things that you noticed and it made you feel all warm inside.  What if you had to photograph that same place but make someone else see and feel what you did with just one photograph?  As you enjoy your Saturday try thinking about that and picking out mental photographs that you think would portray what you’re feeling where you are at.


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2 Comments

  • I have used photo challenges as a means of seeing things differently to set out of my usually photographic style and challenge my eye. When I went to Prague for Christmas, I asked my readers to give me a few different challenges that I would watch for while touring in town. It was an interesting experiment and I loved how it made me look at things differently. Will do that again for sure! Helped to open my eyes to a different perspective.

    • Photo Challenges are certainly a great way to drum up some inspiration. I’ve got a few good ones I’m saving up for Sicily in a few weeks, I’ll be sure to post them.

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