Look before you photograph . . . look carefully

October 26, 2009

This is my 90 second photography lesson!  Look before you photograph.

In my dance photography class, I note that most people walk into the dance studio, or into the theatre for a rehearsal, pick up their camera, and start shooting right away.  I guess they are looking for the highest leap, or the kmost perfect arabeque, or some other triumph.  That doesn’t work.

Start by looking . . . carefully.  Find something visually exciting, something that tells your story, something that you want to share with us.  Find something too important to miss.

And remember . . . your job is not just to be in the presence of this wonderful dance, or this beautiful landscape, or whatever.  It’s to craft pictures that draw on your vision.  You are translating a three dimensional moving world into flat still images.  They will only be exciting if you are alive, creating passionately, seeing with all your strength.

If I were to ask you what you’re photographing, I hope you just say something like “that beautiful dancer”.  Let me know that you’re photographing a visual rhythm, or a magnificant sweep of energy, or something else very special that you just saw.

Remember . . . before you photograph, look!  Really look.

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