What We All Do As Photographers

What We All Do As Photographers


What We All Do As Photographers


What We All Do As Photographers



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

In general, all photographers do the same thing; 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. And, in general, all humans 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. Specifically, we see and feel that we want to photograph what we see. And this is the start of what we do as photographers.

However, photography is a complex process that seemingly happens instantaneously. Furthermore, we tend to think that we “take” pictures. But what we 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 elements of composition that ALL photographers use. We deal with these design elements regardless of the camera we use, even if it’s the camera on our phone. In addition, when we bring 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 doing whatever we’re doing; better yet, we’re seeing whatever we’re seeing, and we get the impulse to create a picture. 

Seeing And Thinking

The next thing we do is think about how what we’re seeing would make a good photograph. At this point, we may not even have taken out our cameras. However, how we think about what we’re seeing serves as the foundation for the rest of our composition. 

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—landscapes, food, people, etc.

Controlling Tonality

The other thing we usually become concerned with is 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 we make the picture, the last thing we do is critique the image. In other words, we judge the picture. Unfortunately, we usually say that we either like or dislike the photograph. However, a better critique would be limited to the previously mentioned elements of composition.

Oh, and by the way. Unless you ask, no one should critique your photograph except you.

In Closing

Yup, what we all do as photographers are the same. However, when we pay 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

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