Inspiration, Creativity, and Technical Skills

20.06.2018 |

Episode #10 of the course Introduction to photography by Robin Whalley


Yesterday, you learned how you could share your photos to receive valuable feedback. Today, I want to share the secret to developing your photography in the future.


The Three Aspects of Photography

There are three key elements that combine to determine the success of a photograph:

1. vision or creativity

2. camera control

3. editing skills

All three need to be present for you to produce good photography. If one of these is lacking, it will limit the photograph in some way. For example, if you have good camera control and editing skills but lack vision, your images may be technically good but boring. Another example is a photographer who has good creativity and camera control but poor editing skills. They may capture an impressive image, but it may fail to live up to their expectations or its true potential because they don’t know how to edit it.


Vision and Creativity

Vision is how you see the world and what interests you. When you decide to photograph something, your vision is how you see the finished image. Each of us can have our own unique way of imagining the same scene. In photography, we call this previsualization, the process of imagining the finished image before you take the photo.

Developing a strong vision in your photography is important and one of the keys to success. To help you improve your visualization skills, there are exercises you can do:

1. Use a standard lens on your camera, equivalent to 50mm. If you only have a zoom lens, set it to around 50mm and don’t move it. Go to a town or city, and try to photograph patterns using this one focal length. The pattern recognition involved in this will strengthen your creativity.

2. Create a clipping file. This is a file where you collect photographs you like and have cut out of magazines. You can also use the same idea on a computer—for example, by creating a board in Pinterest to collect photos you like. Periodically, spend time looking through the photos in your “file” and ask yourself questions: “What do I like about this photo? How has the photographer created this? How can I use this technique in my photography?”

3. A common mistake among photographers is not spending enough time pre-visualizing the image before taking the photo. You need to work hard on this.


Camera Control

Providing you have a strong vision of the finished image, you can use it to make decisions about camera control. For example, do you need to use a wide-angle lens or a telephoto lens? Do you need to use a wide aperture for a shallow depth of field? Or will you use a small aperture for a full front-to-back depth of field? Will you use a fast or slow aperture? Do you need to use any filters?

Here, a strong vision of the finished image allowed me to override the camera settings to create deep shadows and strong lighting.


Editing Skills

When you first see your image on the computer screen, it will probably disappoint. Don’t be put off by this. Most images need to be enhanced before they match with our imagination.

The first step in successful image editing is to strengthen your vision of the finished image. Imagine again how you want the finished image to appear, and use this to jot down an editing plan. The editing plan is a list of bullet points describing how the current image differs from your imagined image. This will help you decide which changes to make using your editing software.

Here, the vision was to have the starburst effect around the lights and through the windows. This effect was then added in the editing software. Without the starburst effect, the image would appear quite dull and less appealing.

Congratulations on completing the course! You now have a broad knowledge about creating good images. Photography, however, is a skill and needs to be developed. You will need to practice regularly and with the objective of improving. But follow the advice in this course, practice regularly, and improvements will come.



Recommended reading

Improve Your Photography with the Lenscraft 30 Day Photo Challenge


Recommended book

The Photographers Coach by Robin Whalley


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