Much is said about the importance of developing an eye for photography, but little is written about it. In my experience, developing an eye is no different than developing any other latent talent: practice makes (near) perfect.
Here are a few tips for developing your eye. I believe that we all have our own eye – our own perspective – that we bring to any creative venture. Learn to trust it – and your instincts – and you’re well on your way.
- Walk around and look before you shoot. Get low. Get high if you can. Move to places where other things appear in the frame to give it perspective or interest. Yes, even stand in a stream by a waterfall. Seek the image that speaks to you, not the one everyone else takes.
- When possible, use a viewfinder to frame the image. I find my peripheral vision distracting when it comes to framing an image. I like to see what the image will look like, not all that my eyes can see.
- Set goals for your shoot. It’s all too easy to get into a rut, shooting only landscapes or only people because it’s what you’ve always done. Make a list of possible images – street scenes, textures or patterns, unusual light, fast action – and explore the possibilities. You’ll be surprised at how this expands your mind when shooting your favorite subjects.
- Trust yourself. The more you shoot, the more you will learn what you like to shoot. Trust what you’re attracted to. It is likely where your strengths lie… but still mix it up as mentioned above.
- Decide on your subject. Sometimes less is more. Isolating your subject makes a statement about your image. Don’t ignore the emotion you want to express. This will guide you in how you set up the shot and what you do with it later.
- Seek the Wow! factor. This is tough to achieve, but we all know it when we see it. It causes us to say, “Wow! Where was that? I didn’t see it!” As you develop your eye, be attuned to that tingle of excitement when you realize that a Wow! picture is there for the taking.
I’d love to hear how you have developed your eye. Tips to share?