What We All Do As Photographers

What We All Do As Photographers


What We All Do As Photographers



The photographers that I work with in my Learn To Think Like A Photographer classes usually aren’t aware of how involved they are in the creation of their photograph. Once they become aware of what they’re doing,  they can see how paying attention to what their doing can immediately improve their pictures.

In general, photographers all do the same thing; that is we make photographs. And although each photographer does the same thing at a base level,  we each have our specific way of doing our photography.

In a similar way, humans all do the same thing.

What We All Do As Humans

In general, as long as our eyes are functioning, we all see.  And although each human does the same thing at a base level we each have our specific way of thinking about what we see. And this is the start of what we do as photographers. Specifically, we see and then we think that we wanna make a picture of what we see.

However, photography is a complex process that seemingly happens instantaneously. Furthermore, we tend to think that we “take” pictures. But what we really do is “make” pictures.

What We All Do As Photographers

In Brief

In brief, we observe and record light, usually with a camera. To put it another way, we create a photograph with a camera and use various elements of composition. And please note that I didn’t say rules of composition.

Below are some of the aforementioned elements of composition that ALL  photographers deal with. We deal with these elements of composition regardless of the camera we use, even if it’s the camera on our phone.  In addition, when we bring an awareness to these elements of composition while we’re in the process of making pictures, we’ll immediately begin to improve our photography.

The Impulse

The impulse to make a picture of what we’re seeing is the first thing we do as photographers. In other words, we’re doin’ whatever we’re doin’; better yet, we’re seein’ whatever we’re seein’ and we get the impulse to make a picture. Yup, we’re an impulsive bunch of humans, but I prefer the word spontaneous.  

Seeing And Thinking

The next thing we do is we begin to think about how what we’re seein’ would make a good photograph. At this point, we may not even have taken out our cameras.

Framing and Content

After seeing and thinking the next thing we do is we begin to frame the picture and fill the frame with content. The content is as varied as the photographers. For example, landscapes, food, people, etc.

Controlling Tonality

The other thing we usually become concerned with us the tonality or the brightness of the picture. And, depending on our camera, sometimes we can control this and sometimes we can’t.


Another element of composition is focusing. Usually, we think of this as making “something in focus”.


After the picture is made, the last thing we do is critique the picture. In other words, we judge the picture. Unfortunately, we just say we either like or don’t like the picture. However, a better critique would be based on the previously mentioned elements of composition.

Oh and by the way. No one should critique your photograph except you.

In Closing

Yup, what we all do as photographers are the same. However, if we’re paying attention to what we’re doing, our photographs are as unique as each of us is. Remember, we don’t “take” pictures, we “make” pictures.


Take the Learn To Think Like A Photographer class.


What We All Do As Photographers

Study And Practice Photography With Sam

Upcoming Group Photography Classes In Washington DC

Being A Photographer-An Online Discussion And Learning Platform For Photographers

Purchase A Photograph As Wall Decor

License The Use Of A Photograph For Commercial Or Editorial Use

See Sam’s Photographs

Visit Us
Follow Me

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Enjoy this website? Please let everyone know! :)