Seeing Photographs with Better Eyes
The psychology of seeing and how it affects composition
Your eye (and lens) sees something, but your eye is connected to your brain …. which interprets what you see….. it adjusts color balance, ignores unimportant things, tries to “edit out” those things you don’t want to see. You now must re-program your mind so that you really do see everything.
Here’s a simple case in point:
The Classic cars are in town and you see one you like and take a snapshot. You see the yellow car…. but not the meter on the left, the power lines above, or even the yellow on the bottom right…… your mind ignores those distractions for you.
Here’s what you must learn to do: Eliminate unwanted distractions …. either by cropping them out during printing (like I just did) or move in closer and crop them out with the camera and lens.
Or…… you could think about what you really want to show …. walk around, crouch down, look at it harder …. and then shoot.
The point is, you must concentrate and think harder about what it is you want to show… and force yourself to see how to eliminate those things you don’t want to show.
This should become habit…. you should practice doing this with everything that “catches your eye”. Your eye WILL begin to see better … and you will begin to think about the lighting, the angle, the “feel” of those things as you look around.
Sometimes you might feel weird or cursed because of the way you “stare at” – study – things, but it is essential that you develop this habit if you really want to get better. To become a true, serious amateur or top-notch professional you need to be constantly studying subject matter, light, composition, etc. AND figuring out how you want that shot to look in print.
One of the reasons I was considered a first-rate riot photographer was that, even in the middle of a riot – with all that noise and hate and physical violence and constant threats to myself – I forced myself to concentrate on:
HOW THIS PIC WOULD LOOK ON THE PAGE.
And now, some thoughts on COMPOSITION.