andykill.jpg

Photo by Scott Bourne

Here are the five steps…

STEP 1) Shoot

STEP 2) Transfer

STEP 3) Edit

STEP 4) Process

STEP 5) Share

When you make a photograph, you would do well to remember all five STEPS mentioned above. Now I realize that you have to do several of these steps no matter what, but my point is that you should do ALL of them, ALL of the time. Secondly, I want you to actually THINK about them when you are in the field, pressing the shutter. Why?

Well it’s simple really. If you don’t think about all five steps when you press the shutter, your results will be less than satisfactory. Oh you may get lucky and get some good shots, but if you stop and think about all five steps, you will get better shots.

You need to understand that each of these steps is part of a process. And like many things in life, the sum of these steps is important to the end result. No one step is necessarily more important than the other. If you think of them as equal partners, it will change how you make pictures.

Obviously you shoot first – then you transfer – that is, you either take your film to the lab and scan it or you copy images from your memory card to your scanner. Next, you edit. Decide which of the images are your best. Processing is the step where you clean the image up and make it ready for the world to see. You adjust exposure, dodge, burn, filter, sharpen, etc.

Then there’s the last step – SHARE. While it may be last on the list, it is equal in importance. Do you really think about what you will do with each picture you make? I do. And it makes a difference. When I just shoot randomly, my pictures are not as compelling as they are when I am thinking about the audience.

Ask yourself who the picture is for? Ask who will see it and where will it be displayed? This should influence how you capture the image.

And what about editing? If you know you are going to bring the photo into Photoshop for some post processing work, it may influence you to make a different exposure than you would if you just had to print straight out of the camera.

So look at all five steps and think about them each time you press the shutter. I think you’ll get better pictures out of your camera.

(NOTE: I am not saying these are the ONLY steps required to making a great photo so please keep that in mind when leaving your comments. Thanks.)

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Join the conversation! 22 Comments

  1. Very good advice. I like the note at the end, almost like you are bracing for some perfectionist comments…LOL

  2. Very good advice. I like the note at the end, almost like you are bracing for some perfectionist comments…LOL

  3. Thanks Tony – yes it’s an occupational hazard – if I didn’t put that there – well you know what would happen :)

  4. Thanks Tony – yes it’s an occupational hazard – if I didn’t put that there – well you know what would happen :)

  5. If you know that you have to show your pictures to others you will want to spend more time making an image than simply pressing the shutter and hoping for the best-like most of my friends and family :)

  6. If you know that you have to show your pictures to others you will want to spend more time making an image than simply pressing the shutter and hoping for the best-like most of my friends and family :)

  7. Where was the photo taken? That seems a bit too close to a feeding puma for comfort and safety.

  8. Where was the photo taken? That seems a bit too close to a feeding puma for comfort and safety.

  9. In Montana and although it wasn’t in a zoo – I was safe – by the way – in the west we call them Mountain Lions.

  10. In Montana and although it wasn’t in a zoo – I was safe – by the way – in the west we call them Mountain Lions.

  11. The only problem I have is that I’m always hesitant to share. I’ve always been my worst critic, and tend to think that people who like my work have no taste, or dont’ know what they are looking at.

    I have one friend who understands, because she’s the same way. But yet we both have no problem getting photo work.

    So what step (#11, #25?) is the “getting rid of harsh self-criticism?” :)

  12. The only problem I have is that I’m always hesitant to share. I’ve always been my worst critic, and tend to think that people who like my work have no taste, or dont’ know what they are looking at.

    I have one friend who understands, because she’s the same way. But yet we both have no problem getting photo work.

    So what step (#11, #25?) is the “getting rid of harsh self-criticism?” :)

  13. Mr. Bourne – Great acronym for remembering your suggested STEPS. I recall on an earlier cast(s) you had mentioned some additional acros that you regularly use. Could you please refresh my(our) memory? Sorry if this is not in the proper thread. [m]

  14. Mr. Bourne – Great acronym for remembering your suggested STEPS. I recall on an earlier cast(s) you had mentioned some additional acros that you regularly use. Could you please refresh my(our) memory? Sorry if this is not in the proper thread. [m]

  15. No problem Mark – SAS – Subject Attention Simplify – EDFAT – Entire Details Focal Length Angle Time – LUDA – Look Up Look Down Look All Around.

  16. No problem Mark – SAS – Subject Attention Simplify – EDFAT – Entire Details Focal Length Angle Time – LUDA – Look Up Look Down Look All Around.

  17. Scott. I just really felt compelled to tell you how much I LOVE that photo of the mountain lion. It just screams “keep away… this is mine”. I love it!

  18. Scott. I just really felt compelled to tell you how much I LOVE that photo of the mountain lion. It just screams “keep away… this is mine”. I love it!

  19. Bonjour,

    I think your list of five steps makes a lot of sense.

    Personaly, I have to say that it is mostly a reflexion on *what the photo is for* and *who will watch it* that helps me in making pictures.
    A few years ago, I was rarely thinking to that while I was shooting. I was paying attention to lighting mostly but telling a story was not part of my work. Yeah, my pictures were fine, but I think that they were less interesting in the *communication* point of view.
    Now that I share them on Flickr and that I post my stuff on a blog, I have to think more about the message that I want to produce. It is now part of my photography and I think it really helps me in becoming a better photographer.

    Thanks for writing that blog and thanks also for the podcast. I always have a lot of fun when listening at it! Merci.

  20. Bonjour,

    I think your list of five steps makes a lot of sense.

    Personaly, I have to say that it is mostly a reflexion on *what the photo is for* and *who will watch it* that helps me in making pictures.
    A few years ago, I was rarely thinking to that while I was shooting. I was paying attention to lighting mostly but telling a story was not part of my work. Yeah, my pictures were fine, but I think that they were less interesting in the *communication* point of view.
    Now that I share them on Flickr and that I post my stuff on a blog, I have to think more about the message that I want to produce. It is now part of my photography and I think it really helps me in becoming a better photographer.

    Thanks for writing that blog and thanks also for the podcast. I always have a lot of fun when listening at it! Merci.

  21. Good thoughts. Thank you. I was a staff photographer for a major daily newspaper for about 6 years and had to ALWAYS think about how it would appear in print. In breaking news, you grab some quick shots that tell the story then – find the time – try and capture the “other” view.

    As you suggest with your “steps”, it also meant selecting the best one that instantly communicates. I get impatient when someone shows me a stack of 6 or 10 or 20 shots with only slight differences.

    I wish instead they would pre-select one and show me what they consider their BEST.

    Thanks again.

  22. Good thoughts. Thank you. I was a staff photographer for a major daily newspaper for about 6 years and had to ALWAYS think about how it would appear in print. In breaking news, you grab some quick shots that tell the story then – find the time – try and capture the “other” view.

    As you suggest with your “steps”, it also meant selecting the best one that instantly communicates. I get impatient when someone shows me a stack of 6 or 10 or 20 shots with only slight differences.

    I wish instead they would pre-select one and show me what they consider their BEST.

    Thanks again.

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