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It’s been said many times, but shooting outstanding digital photos has much more to do with developing your photographer’s eye than living near spectacular outdoor locations, such as mountains, deserts and seashores. A lack of skills or a photographer’s creative eye will still result in poor digital photos of well-known landscapes or seascapes. An early lesson that all photographers must learn is that there are great photos to be taken wherever you might live or be, but you need the skills to recognize them, and then capture them with your camera.
The first lesson to develop your photographer’s eye is simply to open your eyes, which tends to open your mind to the possibilities around you. The scenes, objects and subjects in your life lose their interest because you see them every day; but to those who don’t share your daily experiences or live in another climate or country, your surroundings are filled with interesting views and objects they’d love to see. The scenes, objects and subjects in your life don’t have to be dramatic or brightly colored to become the contents of excellent digital photos. In fact, often, a lack of color, subtle colors or gray tones is a more creative element.
Read these PhotographyTalk.com articles to help you “see” what you’re not seeing, so your mind is suddenly flooded with all the potential pictures you’ve simply overlooked.
Digital Photography—Reveal More in Black and White
Digital Photography—Look for the Patterns
Digital Photography—How to Train Your Photographer’s Eye
Digital Photography—Gray Days Are Not Necessarily Bad Days
Another secret to shooting great digital photographs where you don’t think they exist is to shoot when the light has the most effect on a scene or object. Too many amateurs automatically gravitate to the brightest time period of the day because they think all that light is necessary to create excellent images. They’re partially right, but natural light is much more interesting at sunrise, sunset through twilight and night. Shooting in low-light conditions with a very fast lens or using your time-exposure feature will often reproduce colors better than what your eye can see. Remember, the optics of your digital camera takes the picture, not your eyes; and the lens optics see subtleties and shadings that your eye and mind could conclude are dull and boring.
As your eyes and mind begin to open and see photographically, you’ll start to notice a dominant color in an otherwise somewhat colorless scene. You’ll also notice objects that don’t belong, and the contrast between it and the rest of the scene helps to tell a story that you might miss. Being conscious of the less-is-more concept will also cause great digital photos to grab your attention. Consider enrolling in an art class (painting, drawing, watercolor, sculpture, etc.). Photography is just another of these media; and it’s the ability to see that is critical to enjoying and succeeding in any of them.
Another good method to find outstanding photos is to drive a few hours from where you live. In most cases, you’ll find yourself in a landscape that is completely different. If you live in the big city, then drive into the country or ask a farmer for permission to wander his farm. If you live in a small town or the suburbs, spend a day and night in the big city and explore its urban landscape.
Great digital photos are everywhere, if you know how to look for them. Stop complaining that there is nothing to shoot and take some of the actions recommended in this and other PhotographyTalk.com articles.