Just a few weeks ago, I got up at the crack of dawn and went to Trillium Lake with a few other photographers, intent on photographing the sunrise. Soon after we got there, we met up with a few more photographers at the same location. The lake was beautiful, and so was the mountain, but there were zero clouds sky to soak up the sunshine as it started making its way up into the sky. We all ended up gravitating towards the dock that was sitting in a beautifully foggy lake.

So here we were, eight photographers photographing pretty much the exact same thing from the exact same location. And when a boat with a couple of fishermen made their way out to the middle of the lake, guess what we all started pointing our cameras at? That’s right! All of us were photographing the same thing … again.

For some, this could be a little bit unnerving. After all, photographers can be a selfish bunch, and I won’t exclude myself from the mix of photographers who love to have their own unique image. But was I worried we would all end up with the same photo? Not really. I have had a lot of experience photographing the same subject in the same location with at least dozen other photographers, and we all end up with different photos at the end of the day.

It’s quite simple, really: We all see differently. Our final images ultimately are a representation of our own personal photography styles. It could be from the choices we make with our settings in-camera, how we compose, what lens and camera we use, or even filters we put on the front of the lens. And then, once that photo makes it onto a computer or mobile device to be processed, we add our own spin and unique vision to the photograph.

Here are four different (and unique) photographs from four of the photographers at Trillium Lake that morning (including myself). Hover over each image to view the photographer and a link to their work.

lavender-square-150pxNicole S. Young is a professional photographer living in Portland, Oregon. She is the author of several print books and eBooks, and runs her own online store for photographers, the “Nicolesy Store“.

You can read more of Nicole’s articles HERE, and view her work and website HERE.

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Join the conversation! 9 Comments

  1. Great post! I used to put away my camera when I noticed my friend was taking the same shot because I thought we’d end up with the same pictures. I also felt like I was just copying him (I was/am an amateur and he was already working on a pro level). But since I’ve gotten a lot more into photography this year, I have also realized that even though we might take the same shots, the outcome is always different. Photography is an art of expression after all :)

  2. Yep! 100% agreed. I gave the same example at the bottom of this article:
    Ignore the top, as I was talking about something else, but midway through the bottom I gave the same example! People just need to learn that, or accept it.

  3. Just last week I was out camping and fishing when I meet someone that had fished all week with no luck. I invited him to fish with me the next morning. We walked down stream a mile or so and started fishing. It wasn’t long and I saw the problem with his approach so I rigged his fly rod like mine and tied on a fly (one that I knew was the best) and showed him how to approach the fish. It wasn’t long and he had his first fish. I just watched and coached for the next 2 hours. I do think I had as much fun as he did. I enjoyed his success. The point here is that we should be able to do the same thing in photography. Help should be given when asked for and we should enjoy each others successes.

  4. Thanks for the great post. I enjoyed seeing the 4 different photographers’ perspective of the same subject. I’m trying hard to stop comparing my photography style with others.

  5. Great post, Nicole. I love it.

  6. My rule of thumb is shoot it anyway if I were there. The work of a photographer does not come from a single photo.

  7. I found yours on my first guess!

    Helping people gives meaning to life; anything else gets in the way.

  8. I totally agree, everyone comes from different points in life and their career. I’m even starting to write a book and help any photographer in need. If you need to contact me, give me a shout out on facebook – or visit my website at

  9. I agree but the examples don’t really show everyone seeing differently as the viewpoint and focal length is pretty much identical in all four but with different processing. The problem I usually find when there’s several photographers is not getting in each others way!


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About Nicole S. Young

Photographer, author, entrepreneur. I love photographing food and landscapes, and have written several how-to books on Photography, post-processing, and creative inspiration. You can find more about me on my blog, online store, as well as on Google+ and Twitter.


Opinion, Photography


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