The Art of Seeing and the Confidence to Show Off Your Work
There are hundreds of unique photographs that could be taken right now from where you sit and read this article. But with all these endless choices, how do we determine what’s worth photographing?
Let’s call this, “the art of seeing”.
Developing your eye for photos is the biggest learning curve you’ll have as a photographer. It’s also the hardest… and not because you think you don’t have an artistic eye... its for another reason. I have a thought on that... and I will address that more later.
The technical aspect of learning a camera functions, that is the easy part. Mastering the exposure triangle and understanding how to manipulate these functions to achieve different results is just a matter of studying and repetition. Its a must do step that so many forget to focus on first... So my suggestion, focus on that first.
Then, you can learn from others before you and read tutorials, ask questions from people you perceive as better than you, watch youtube videos, read user reviews of your specific camera... then just apply what you learned with the camera in your hand.
Learn how lighting conditions, foreground/background elements, shape, lines and color are all things you should note in your environments as you begin to learn to “See” your scene. These can also be learned by studying the greats… I personally would, and still look at, photos from Ansel Adams, David Muench, Eliot Porter and Henri Cartier-Bresson to find inspiration.
There are also many rules that you can read about. Each of these rules will help you begin to “See” your images better… the rule of thirds, shoot to the right, sunny f16 rule, etc, etc… Understanding them is a good place so start… then the creativity comes when you start to consciously choose to embrace, or break, these rules while creating your own photography style.
And… that leads me to the part where I said, I would address that later".
So why is developing your eye the hardest? Its my opinion that showing off your work when you are first learning is like giving permission to allow a total stranger to look into how your mind thinks… it makes us all a little insecure… and that insecurity is what initially holds us back… That is why it takes time for photographers to hit their stride and be confidant to show off all their images…
Be honest, how many of you have taken a photo and had that internal thought that it’s not that good of a photo… then someone you perceive to be a better photographer sees it, and gives you a compliment… Remember that instant confidence?
it doesn't have to be in person you know... it can even be feedback you get on social media as well...
Let me tell you a quick story about something I just saw on facebook. A week ago, a friend of mine posted a photo on facebook and basically said, "is this a good photo or not?" She opened herself up to feedback... good or bad... I admired that!
She is well on her way on her own personal journey and confidant enough to allow thousands of total strangers to critique her... It will make her a better photographer...
Flat out... We are our own worst critics… that that self doubt holds you back.
Thinking back to when I first picked up a camera... wow, I was just a kid, and i was inspired by my father... I would take rolls of photos for photography class... I remember looking at the images and thinking, "thats horrible, throw that one out, thats crap, thats blurry. Wait, thats not blurry, thats a photo that looks like a dog is running because of the blurry legs, but the head is in focus."
I showed my teacher and he explained it was called "Motion Blur" and its a desirable image that many photographers try to achieve"
There it was, Instant confidence... I clicked the shutter and took an image someone thought was excellent...
Remember this... "learning the craft of photography is not a competition with ANYONE. It's a self journey of learning and finding the joy that comes from refining your own personal style. Not everyone is going to like your images. All that matters is that you do, and you start trusting your abilities."
So get out there, press the button and take the shot no matter the final product. A blurry or mis-composed image is always better than no image at all! Each and every image you take is a step in the right direction, it’s a step to more confidence, it’s a leap in helping you define your style and gaining that self confidence!
Happy Shooting Everyone...