Quick Tip – Visualization

Visualizing a scene has never been easier, the LCD screen allows you to snap a quick shot and then review it while your still standing in front of your subject.  It has not always been this simple.  Those of you that have shot with film cameras have a bit of an advantage of the younger whipper snappers in that you learned how to visualize a scene before you even began dialing in the technical settings of your camera.  Think about this, what difference does it make if you over expose or under expose your image if the photograph is uninteresting?

Form a mental image of; imagine - Oxford Dictionary

Visualization is more than just seeing the subject, most anyone can put a camera up to their eye and see the subject.  Visualization is seeing the end result, the photograph after you’ve taken it, imported it into your digital darkroom, and made all your adjustments.  The successful black and white photographers (type of pictures not skin color) are some of the best at visualization I know, they can envision their subject or scene in black and white before they even take the shot.

Sometimes there can be a completely unintentional disconnect between your photograph and what you visualized.  Most people tend to see an intriguing subject in a beautiful setting and focus all their attention on the subject that caught their attention.  Then, once we’ve got that photograph we enter it into as many photo contests as we can because we know that photograph is going to move people and win millions.  Unfortunately, the viewer was not standing right next to you when you took it, they have no idea how beautiful the rest of your surroundings were because the focus was solely on the subject.  Visualization will help you solve this disconnect.

Action Steps

  • Don’t limit yourself to only seeing the subject you want to photograph.
  • Think about what it is about the subject that catches your attention, think about how you can present the subject in a manner that will call others attention to it.
  • Visualize the subject in a photograph, frame it in your mind.
  • Be picky about what you shoot, don’t just burn through your SD card in hopes that you’ll catch one or two good shots out of every 300.

If you practice good habits like visualizing the photograph before every shot I assure you you’ll have many more “usable” shots than the spray and pray approach (where you take as many photographs as you can and pray that one is a winner).  Look for photographs that inspire you, photographs that convey your world view to others.  If you can’t visualize a stimulating photograph before you take the shot then what makes you believe it’s worth taking?

The shot at the top of the page is of a cactus…  the shot seemed interesting to me because I visualized the arm (probably not the technical botanical name for it) as a road inviting me to come closer and then WHAM…  You get pricked.  Sneaky cactus, very sneaky.

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