Why? Thinking like a photographer


Before you even raise your camera, knowing why you were compelled to take an image is the most important moment in taking a photograph. Why do you feel the need to capture this particular second, in indelible jpeg?  

The composition tweaks, camera settings and timing come with practise. Knowing what you want to convey visually and the execution visually, is where the real mastery lies. Every second you spend with the camera separating yourself from real life, you lose the present the 1/200 of a second that the camera takes. You sacrifice your present moment for the greater good. The shutter closes, and it’s only the visual moment. From that you can remember the sounds, the smells, the feeling and the tastes of it, but you lose the visual when the shutter closes.  Asking why will allow you to quickly capture what you want, and spend more time experiencing real life. 

How to

Before you even raise the camera to your eye,  pause and really understand what you want to capture. Ask yourself why are you taking this image? Is it the colour, the texture, the way the light hits and edge, or a human moment that you want to share? Once you know that, the answers to all the other photographic decisions will become clear. You will know how to frame your shot, which camera settings to use, and 

Examples of questions you may ask yourself:

1- You want to take a picture of a flower in the morning sun for a personal print.

-You’ll want your image to be composed so that it works for normal print sizes (unless you want to cut or get custom sizing which is pricey)

-You’ll want the flower to be the focus and in focus

-You should pick the flower that looks the best, and figure out how many you want to include. One, two, five?

-Which flower has the best light, and which angles captures the shape and colour that caught your eye?

-What is behind your flower, does the background enhance the image and draw your eye to the focal point (the flower)

-Is there a better way to photography this?

2- You take a product shot for your  company’s instagram.

-What are the features of the product that you want to highlight?

-What kind of background will sell your image? Bright white for websites, a whimsical pattern, somewhere outside, a bright colour?

-Do you need a square format image for an instagram post, or a long and short banner for facebook?

-What kind of client are you targeting and what kind of images do they like?

-How will this image fit in with your current online presence?

-Do you want a clean bright image? Something moody and dramatic? Does your image make someone want to buy your product?

-What is the mood of your brand, do these images convey that visually?

Activity - 10 min

Find a subject you think is interesting and take 3 photos of it, pausing between each shot.

1 - photograph it instinctively

2 - ask yourself why you are taking the image, and chance your composition.

3 - check the resulting images, and ask yourself if it captures what you originally found interesting. Make any further changes to your composition.

Which is the best?

Using Format