If you want to elevate yourself from snap shooter or picture taker to picture maker, here are seven questions you should consider asking yourself before you make your next image. 1. What is the subject of the photograph? 2. What story does the photograph tell? 3. Am I taking this photograph because I care about […]

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One of the differences between a professional and an amateur photographer is that a professional knows when NOT to shoot. Just because you have a camera, and you ended up at place XYZ, doesn’t mean you need to make a photograph. Sometimes, the light just sucks. Sometimes, you have the wrong subject. Sometimes the background […]

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Photo Copyright Scott Bourne 2004 – All Rights Reserved It happens every time I lead an outdoor or nature photo workshop. One of the students comes to me and says something like, “But I don’t know what to shoot?” Sometimes, we’re overwhelmed by opportunity. Sometimes we’re just in a rut and nothing draws our attention. […]

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My post last week sharing 10 ways you could improve your photography without buying gear was so well received (i.e., it’s the most popular post ever at Photofocus other than camera giveaway announcements) I decided to add to it. So here are five MORE ways you can improve without buying gear. 1. Keep a diary […]

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Photo Copyright Scott Bourne 2002 – All Rights Reserved. This post is inspired by the ever-inspiring David duChemin. The author of the acclaimed Within The Frame has published two great e-books called “Ten Ways to Improve Your Craft. None of Them Involve Buying Gear” and “Ten MORE Ways to Improve Your Craft. None of Them […]

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Image and Post by Rick Sammon I forget who said it, but one of my favorite quotes about photography is: “Look for what you don’t see.” This image (certainly not the best picture you have ever seen of Double Arch in Arches National Park, UT) illustrates this point. I was showing this image during a […]

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This is not an in-depth review of Within the Frame. I’ll leave that to our regular book reviewer, Conrad. I wanted to chime in with a mini-review on some of the important messages I took away from reading the book. Photojournalist Steve Simon has a saying. “Go an inch wide and a mile deep.” That […]

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Copyright Scott Bourne 2003 - All Rights Reserved

Copyright Scott Bourne 2003 - All Rights Reserved

Why does one photographer walk by an opportunity that someone else turns into a magazine cover? How can you learn to see creatively? Your camera manual won’t answer these questions. But with the right tools and process, you can improve your photographic vision.

The tools that help photographers to creatively see include patience, positive attitude and an open mind. While most people possess these traits to some degree, they usually lack the process that pulls it all together. On your next photo shoot, use these steps to improve your photographic vision.

1. Elimination. Most photographers identify their subject using a logical pattern. They usually eliminate items from the foreground and background until something catches their eye and they make the photograph. Unfortunately, most shooters eliminate things until only the most obvious choice remains. Then they fire away at the subject without thinking about other options. Photographers who see creatively establish routines that lead them to see other ways to frame a subject. A photography teacher unknowingly taught me this very point when he opined, “Look up, look down and then look all around.” He was trying to get me to see the same subject in many ways. To this day I practice his approach.

Example: Laying on the ground to change perspective and using wide-open telephoto to compress background as well as focus attention on the foreground allows the photographer to eliminate certain elements that a standing photographer would have no choice but to include.

2. Evolution. Try raising your camera in six-inch increments from the ground to your tripod’s maximum height. Look carefully at the subject on every level. This incremental approach to making different photographs of the same subject is a perfect example of evolutionary creative seeing. Make many small refinements to your composition for the best chance to see the best shots. This approach is especially valuable when photographing familiar subjects. Continue reading

Last week, Wall Arch in Arches National Park, Utah collapsed. This is one of those places photographers loved to visit. I personally made images there four times. I distinctly remember one of my associates remarking to me that photographing such places was a waste of time. He said “been there – done that – everyone […]

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Photo by Scott Bourne In my experience, there are basically two kinds of photographers. The first group is interested in the science of photography. They care mostly about the gear, the technical stuff and are less interested in art. They like photographs that are technically superior – regardless of subject. If a photo is pinpoint […]

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If you’re a photographer, chances are, you’re a communicator. Most of the photographers I know are really storytellers. They have something they want to say, and they use the medium of photography to do it. While it would be easy to focus this post on the communicator, I want to focus it on the audience. […]

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