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30 Mac 2022

How To Take Your Photos From The Expected to The UNEXPECTED!

You are in a group of nine other photographers so there are ten of you all taking a picture of the same thing. Now nine of those photographers are going to create a photograph that looks more or less like the other guys, but one of you will take a photograph and you'll be the rest. You'd be like "What? how did you create that image?  I didn't see it, I was standing right next to you"

Wouldn't you love to be that one photographer who creates photographs of exactly the same subject but in a way that is so wonderful and unique that it's almost like they have access to a secret stash of photos

How's it today? we are going to unlock within you this skill and the art of being able to see what others can't. So those secret photographs that the photographers seem to be taking, this is probably the biggest jump in the skill that you have as a photographer. 

When you learn to understand this it takes you from just being somebody with a camera to being a true photographer. Somebody who sees the world in a photographic sense. 


So the first thing is really you know that you need to be actually searching for photographs.

It's fairly obvious if you're not out there taking photographs then you can't take the photo. So sitting around reading books looking at Youtube videos is great but is no substitute for actively being out there with a camera looking for potential things to photograph.

You could be surrounded by the world's greatest scenery, the world's greatest subject, but if you're not photographing then there will never be a photograph made by you of those things. Now if you don't have a camera always to hand, you can train your mind to be actively seeking out images. You know just when you're driving along on your commute and see what is around, you imagine how you could be photographing these things. So you're training your mind to start to recognize the possibilities that are all around you.

Be Open

In your photography, the second step of course is to not get blinkered, to not find yourself in a furrow that you can't escape.

Jay Maisel (Credit image by

Jay Maisel said that;

The worst thing you could possibly do as a photographer is to go out photographing with a very specific image in mind.

Because what happens is you go off to photograph some landscapes and what's happening is that you have already decided that you are going to photograph the scene in a certain way, so you're blinding yourself to the possibilities, to the options that may present themselves to you quite unexpectedly because you are just going "Well I'm only going to photograph it in a certain way so that's the only way that I'm sort of thinking about."

Can you see how that becomes quite limiting if you photograph a tree or a rock or a ski scape or a person in a studio you know is doing a portrait and you believe that there's only one way or you want to turn your photograph in one way then you are limiting yourself. You're putting limits on your photographs and I think that's a real shame that when you start to stop yourself from exploring the possibilities, then you stifling creativity where it starts. 


So the first time that you picked up a camera you asked somebody "Hey, look what am I supposed to photograph." and they told you I'll go and photograph a cat or a dog or any of you know these sort of things and you went and you photographed the whole thing. Did you photograph the cat as a complete cat or a car as a complete car, so often we find ourselves stuck in that rut where we photograph things within prescribed ways. 

If you're doing a portrait you get told whether it's a head and shoulders or it's a half body or it's a three-quarter, it's a full length, and that beyond those very narrow confines. You shouldn't really be photographing anything else, but of course, that's nonsense because we know that you can photograph a fragment of people and find interesting ways of seeing that object. 

I mean look at Harry Callahan's photographs of Eleanor;

Image credit:

Those are fragments of her. There are photographs of something that you are standing in front of and you don't necessarily see. Can you see how all of a sudden you're teasing out these secret images? So when you're confronted with a subject that you are photographing see what you can break it down, see if you can break it down into smaller pieces that may hold even more interest for your subjects and more potential for a photograph. 

The Star Of The Show

Of course, having said that, there are fragments to photograph that doesn't mean that you shouldn't photograph the whole but when you do, you then need to think about what is that whole surrounded by what is the subject in competition with. Are there other characters at this stage of this photograph who are competing for the viewers' attention? 

If you are going to photograph a subject, a single subject as a whole then that single subject needs to stand on its own, it needs to be front and center, it needs to be given a private place, it needs to be in the spotlight. So you want to push away all the other little bits that are competing into the wings. Get them out of the image or isolate the subject in the frame.

Make it quite clear in your images that this object in front of us, this thing, this person whatever is your subject for the photograph that's what you want to do. That's why so often we get a bit muddled when we look at photographs because you the photographer have not made it clear exactly what it is they are trying to photograph. 


If you see something that you like, explore the options, explore the viewpoints. You know... get in closer, go to the side, go to the back, look down, line the floor and photograph up, just find a high vantage point or come down and change up your viewpoints.

You need to stop looking at the world like everybody else does which is from around about 5 feet or 10 off the ground looking straight ahead. When you start getting off that plane that field of vision then your photographs all of a sudden instantly hold a little bit more appeal, a little bit more interest because you're showing somebody the world from a perspective that is unusual to them. So don't be like the crowd, don't be hurt.

Try and explore things be different from your viewpoint.


All of these elements up until this point have just been a precursor and what I'm about to share with you now is the most important aspect to remember when you are taking photographs. 

When you're trying to create images that arrest people's attention, you should photograph every day the "expected" the mundane in an unexpected way, that is unusual, and arrests people's vision because they will sit there and go "How do you see the world like this, how crazy is it that you can see art in a dash of pepper that you can see shadows and shape and form in a colander!"

These objects that for most people are completely boring but for you, they are like the most amazingly interesting things ever. When you start showing people object that they think they know in a way that is completely new to them, then people go "Wow, your photography is amazing because you're showing them a world that they know that is familiar to them... in a way that is wholly unfamiliar to them

In your photographs create unusual relationships, think about the way that things can play with each other, that they can play with our minds and that they can cause us to think about things uniquely. 

When you start doing that, then all of these elements that you've been working on come together and they make these photographs UNEXPECTED!

It's just one of the things, the more that you practice these things and you practice them just by being open to the world and opportunities around you, then the more this becomes second nature and the more rewarding your photography becomes because you're not simply just settling to photograph the mundane and every day and the boring. You are being not a slave to the camera but you're using the camera as a palette of creation.

A great example of a photographer who can see the world in a completely unique way is Alex Webb. Go and check him out as he's fantastic and he will teach you so much about being able to pick apart the lays that we see in the world around us.

Thanks for reading!

3 ulasan:

  1. Saya suka juga mengambil gambar..

  2. suka ambil gmbr tp nak betul2 fokus tu payah betul. ada kamera pun guna bila berjalan2 je heheh


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