Have you been told that you have a great “eye” when people look at your photos? I remember the first time I was told that during a photo critique, which made me feel great, but also made me curious about how do you a get great “eye.” Are we just born with it, or is it something that we can develop with time? I am sure that natural ability is involved, but we can develop a great “eye” by focusing on a few strategies.
Start by knowing the rules of composition: There are many, such as the rule of thirds, how to use lines and shapes in your photos, colors, and textures. We have written about many of these, so take a look at some of our earlier posts for ideas.
Focus on you: Developing your “eye,” or learning how to see a great shot, is a very personal journey. It starts by creating images that you like. Take photos that express who you are and how you see the world. I love taking landscape photos and photos of people, but capturing the small and surprising things I discover along my walks brings me a great deal of satisfaction. When you like what you capture, others may as well.
Be aware: One of the things that I love about Camera Walking is that I am always looking for an interesting photo opportunity. That means being present and aware of things around me. I am not lost in my head, but keenly aware of what surrounds me. It is helpful to remember to not take the ordinary for granted, even on a daily walk.
Experiment: Look at other photographer’s work for inspiration, and experiment to see what you can achieve. I often choose a theme, such as close ups, or use a different lens, or practice taking unusual angles. Experimenting keeps my walks and skills fresh.
Tell a story: We live in a visual world, and the challenge that we face when looking at a photo is that it needs to attract and hold attention long enough so the viewer can see what we want to say. Be clear about the idea behind the photo. Take time to observe, not just snap a quick shot, so that it tells a story.
Take photos daily: My photography skills always improve after I attend a workshop, either for a day, or for a week. I would love to do that more often, but in between those workshops, taking photos on my walks helps me improve. Take a moment when you return from your walk to ask yourself why you were drawn to a particular scene. I was drawn to the sunlight coming through the bridge below. I loved the contrast and the lines.
Most importantly enjoy yourself. When out walking be aware, present, and excited about the search for the next shot. With each day, each photo, your “eye” will get stronger. So grab your camera and go out Camera Walking! Remember, between the stops you make to take photos, walk briskly. We would love to hear from you about what helps you develop your great “eye” by commenting below, posting on our Facebook page, or sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.