What Do You See?

How you see the world depends on what you see. Or want to see. For example, industrial sites and bugs are two very different subjects. The way you treat one may not necessarily work for the other.

It’s all about what you want to capture, the emotions you feel and what you want to say. I’d say that these three points at minimum help determine your style.

Now I’ve heard a lot on how to find your photographic style. Opinions range from the ever prosaic “Take as many pictures as you can” to the ineffectual and hand waving “You don’t find a style – it finds you”. I think the best advice I’ve ever received stressed mindfulness. In other words, don’t just treat the camera as a light-catching machine. Instead, when taking or reviewing photos, ask yourself:

  • Why did I take this picture? What was I trying to say?
  • Were there any technical impediments in trying to get the feel I wanted? What were they?
  • Did this picture turn out the way I wanted? Why or why not?

Most importantly, ask yourself: “What do I want to photograph?”

These questions do more than help you find your style. Your photographic choices play a large part in determining lens choice. A crucial part. Consider this. . . Nikon makes a 400mm f/2.8 D IF-ED II AF-S lens that sells for $9900 CAD. It’s a beautiful lens and there are plenty of photographers who’ll part with a car to buy it. But not me. I’m not interested in taking photographs of high speed F1 cars, runners or whatnot. Extreme telephoto’s not really my thing. I know that already, so in my mind this lens already has a mental strikethrough (not to mention cost!). That’s an extreme case, but it’s a good illustration of my point.

[To be continued]

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