Creating a Picture

The job of the photographer is the creation of a good photograph. And note that I said "the creation of" and not "the taking of".
The difference between "taking" a photograph and "creating" a photograph is night and day. A photographer creates their images. Even a sports photographer or journalist photographer does everything they possibly can to "create" a great image. They will position themselves at the optimal location, with the optimal perspective, with the best lighting and manipulate what they can in order to create a great image.

If you want to be a photographer and not a "taker of pictures" this is probably the first mental shift you need to make. As a creative or artistic photographer nothing needs left to chance. Nothing needs to be accepted "as it is". Everything within your control must be controlled. Many a great landscape photographer will visit the same location day after day, even year after year, waiting for the light to be perfect. They cannot control the light so they control when they take the photograph so that the light is perfect. The same is true of many other genres of photographers.

One needs to learn to "see the image" beforehand. Most great photography is pre-visualized. Even when just wandering around with no particular subject in mind, you are not trying to take a picture of what is obviously presented, you are trying to take a photograph of the image you know is there.

When I'm doing bird photography and I find a good subject like a hawk sitting on a fence pole. I don't just take the birds picture. I think "wouldn't it be a great picture if". And I position myself so that if the bird does do that I have the best light, the best angle, and the best composition. The bird probably won't do what I want, but if it does I have the best chances of capturing something special.

Creating a photograph is a huge topic. It involves "everything else". The basics of operating a camera is simply mechanics and anyone can do it. Having an innate talent for photography is a blessing, but it is not a requirement. Anyone can become a great photographer. Yes, I said anyone. Photographic "talent" can be learned. It will take time and effort, but it is well worth it if that's what you want.


Watch this video by Zack Arias. Everyone who is trying to be a photographer should.


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