Take better photos by looking carefully

Internet is full of advice about the technical aspects of photography, but it’s much harder to find good advice on the artistic aspects. Therefore I’ve come up with some advice of my own.

My friends tell me that a fundamental part of learning to paint or draw is to learn to see the scene properly. You may think you know what a scene looks like, but when you try to draw it, you quickly notice how poorly you have observed it. This is one of the attractions of drawing a live model: it’s very easy to notice that your drawing does not match what you’re seeing.

I’ve been mindful about this while photographing and it has helped me. For example, my film photos are better than my digital ones. The main reason is that I’m so slow at operating my film cameras that I end up looking at the scene more carefully while shooting, leading to better pictures.

Spend more time looking at what you’re shooting. And do not just look at the scene - see it. What do you see? How is the light? What makes the scene interesting? What are you trying to capture?

Spend more time looking at what you’ve shot. Does it match what you saw in the scene? What makes the picture interesting?


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