Finding Your Eye

Howdy folks, Roger and I really enjoy the whole photowalk experience for a lot of reasons, but especially for how it showcases just how differently photographers can look at the same territory and capture totally different things.   We’ve been friends for a long time and despite having wildly differing political views thrive on the things we can learn from each other.  I tend to shoot shapes, color and things, while Roger is a people photographer.   So we try very hard to learn from each other on what makes our images work and why we took that particular image.  Lots of times, after I’ve stopped to catch an interesting (to me) play of light on a surface, I’ll get the “how did you see that”?  The reverse is true when I’ll watch him move a group of people 3 feet to the left and get a completely different image.  When we mix up our work and show it to people, most can separate the pictures into two piles.  If they are familiar with us, they know whose is whose. Although not on the same scale, when you look at a Robert Weston, Ansel  Adams or Annie Liebovitz picture, you know it is their style.  That is what each of us with a camera who aspire to call themselves photographers want to achieve, a look that is recognized and emulated.

So how does one get that eye?  First look at those photographers whose work you like.  What makes their stuff unique?  What about it appeals to you?  Go out and try and create images like theirs, and compare them.   Play with your controls; take the camera out of the “P” for professional mode. What succeeded, what didn’t?   Then look at the amazing amount of meta-data, now recorded with each image.  No longer do I have to have a notebook to record the f-stop and aperture for each picture.  Weed out the pictures you don’t like and soon you might find a pattern emerging.   It helps to shoot the things that are interesting to you, and until the day when people pay you to shoot their things, you have complete control of when, where, and what you shoot.     Have fun.