What Do You Look for in a Photograph

The saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

What do you look for in a photograph? Do you look for a particular composition? Do you prefer leading lines or symetry in a photograph? What about subjects; what subjects do you prefer to see in a photo? Do you like the orientation to be portrait or landscape, or does it depend on the situation? Do  you like color or black and white prints? Digital or film?

The beautiful thing about photography is that as the photographer you can create your own style by what you include or choose not to include in a photo. You are the master of the art you are making so you can include whatever you like. So, what are you going to include?

The film or the digital sensor is like a blank sheet of paper. This is kind of similar but in an opposite way to a block of stone. The sculptor creates his or her art by chopping away what doesn’t need to be there. Conversely, the photographer starts with a blank frame of film or digital sensor and has to add to it.

Some argue that you have to see a photograph before you make it. I am not sure I completely agree with this statement all the time. Sure, we have to have a photographic eye, but sometimes working a subject can lead to compositions that I might not have seen at first. What I first look for may lead to other ideas and even additional subjects. Getting in the grove or creating momentum can certainly help us reach our goals in creating photographs that others will find pleasing to view.

Ultimately, it is what you look for and prefer to photograph that matters. You are the artist or the composer, if you will. So, what are you looking for in your next photograph?

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