How Photographers See the World Differently

Have you ever thought about how photography impacts you? I'm not referring to the business side but the personal side. Something inspired us to pick up the camera at some point in our lives. When you used it for first time, did you already know that you would have the eye, the passion for photography? Did the desire to be behind the lens occur after seeing one of your first photos or did it evolve over time?

Photographers see the world differently. On road trips we see ‘stop the car now' moments that would never draw attention from 99.999% of the population. On a nature walk, we go from standing to laying horizontal on the ground. At airports, in buildings, we notice chairs, patterns and lines. We see literally and abstractly. We see character in peoples faces, wildlife emotion, beautiful bokeh, color, with perspectives that cross the gamut. We see in color and black and white. Photography is a way of observing, absorbing and forever (thanks to digital and photograph restoration) storing a moment.

“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” ― Marc Riboud

Photography is work. It involves patience, a fresh eye and the diligence to work the shot at the onset and take it all the way to post processing. When we photograph what moves us in the moment, what stirs the passion inside us…it shows in the outcome not only to us but the viewer as well.

Happiness

Seeing children at play takes us back into a time when we were on school grounds or in playgrounds with our buddies enjoying a spring, sunny day.

Feeding the Addiction

A photographer sees the beauty in food as a subject (and dessert). Seeing this cheesecake prompted a quick visit to the pantry to find the Nutella.

Cheesecake
Photo by Dustin Gaffke

Solitude

There are times when we travel with other photographers. Other times it's a solo gig. The alone moments, particularly in nature, are conveyed in many different ways. A solo kayak peacefully glides through the reflection of the sky on a vast and quiet lake.

Kayaking in the clouds.
Photo by Jamie McCaffrey

“I wish I could do something”

National Geographic, other global and interest-specific media have opened our eyes to the beauty, diversity, struggles and life around the globe. Articles and images that we saw long ago still resonate within us.

There are plights that move us and inspire us to donate time, money, clothing, food and animal care needs, to educate and to help.

DSC_1396
Photo by Transformer18

Explore

All you need to do is “Google” a destination or an interest area and a host of images will appear. Travel photography spans a few miles to thousands of miles to share your unique view of the sights that may be unseen or unnoticed by others. Do check out this post: How to Be a Tourist in Your Own City and Capture Remarkable Photos.

Travel
Photo by Moyan Brenn

Travel photography may not always be about the location. Instead it may be sharing what's happening when we take our shoes off and relax a bit.

Happy Sandy Feet
Photo by Tobias Lindman

Thinking

Photographs may give us pause. A time out to enjoy the moment, the memory, the feeling that's been invoked. Thinking is good. Photographers make their subject (and in this case, words on paper) resonate with the viewer.

Think First
Photo by Jason Little

Noticing Details

As a bird and nature photographer, I'm jazzed to get out there early and start seeing the world as it wakes up. Birds, landscapes, wildlife are amazing subjects in their entirety. Their individual features are also incredible. We see the small things and introduce others to their beauty.

The pelican is a large, almost prehistoric looking bird. They are known for their huge wings, massively long bill and distinct gliding flight patterns. However, their faces, their eyes have so much detail. I think of them as the ‘wise, interesting old men from the sea'.

Their feathers, complex, rich in an almost monochromatic scheme, make for a beautiful abstract.

Happy Bubble

Photographs spread infectious energy. Watching and photographing sports and group events presents both challenges and rewards. Whether or not she won the race, does it matter? Her smile, expression says “winner” and “happy to be here” all the way!

Happy to be Here
Photo by Micadew

For a plethora of inspirational quotes on photography by photographers, the site Good Reads has a link to 400 photography quotes.

The critical elements such as light, composition, subject, post processing are important in each image. The emotion that is felt and conveyed by the photographer is a huge factor between a good and great photograph.

When you think of your best images, what separates those from the others you've taken?

young photographer
Photo by Mohamed Muha

Here's to all of us on keeping our lenses open and allowing the initial passion to stay with us so we keep our perspectives fresh and new!


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About the author

Sheen Watkins

Sheen Watkins is a bird, nature, wildlife photographer and photography writer. You can follow her photography on Facebook, Instagram and her website. A long term birder and nature enthusiast she is Vice President of Saving Birds Thru Habitat, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating others about the importance of protecting our natural habitat for migrating birds. She also has a travel and photography blog.

  • alan scherer says:

    I love it and it loves me back by helping others love it too. check out http://www.500px.com/alanschererphotographer to see my vision.

  • Liz Lawler says:

    I would love to learn tricks of the trade ~ Just bought a new digital camera and WANT SO badly to learn how lighting, framing, setting etc play into a wonderful photograph!

    • Genesis Dove says:

      Try Tony Northrup’s Dslr Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography, I’ve bought loads of books before but his I keep coming back to, it explains things in a friendly way and he doesn’t expect you to buy lots of expensive things! There are lots of how to’s on the net of course. Apart from that capture as much as you can, play with you camera settings on a bored day and see how it changes to image so when you see the perfect shot you know how to set you camera, join photography groups for the kind of photography you like and don’t be afraid to post your own images up… Others on there will give you advice on how to get the best from your photography and most importantly don’t be disheartened by mistakes!

  • Lovely aritcle.

    Very well said. As photographers, we do see things in ways that most people do not, much in the same way that a painter sees the world, but I think just a bit beyond. Our task and our joy is to bring those visions to others through our art. And yes we are artists, not merely technicians.

  • Ca says:

    Great read there and so true, we do see the world in a different way, and I for one am so glad of the internet as some days I feel I would burst if I could not share the vision with others.

  • Ca says:

    ps If you want to see the world through my eyes, facebook.com/hugsphotographic

  • caiti says:

    This is spot on. Being a photographer has opened the world to me in a whole new way. I see beauty everywhere and it induces extra gratitude for the little bits of magic that most other people don’t even see.

  • Rick Bianco says:

    There is much to be said for learnng the basics of Photography first and foremost. Until the process becomes intuitive. As you do your eyes will learn to “see” differently. Also I am certain that life experiences can help to shape how we “see” the world….
    Being a 2x Cancer Survivor …I see the World differently now …than I did pre-cancer…
    And it has had an impact on my work.

  • It is one thing to be a good photographer and have the feelings, inspiration and vision that we seem to have that others don’t, but I have a really hard time describing it in words, Your description of the feeling and desire is perfect. You are smack dab on it for sure. I will keep your article for inspiration, and maybe when someone asks me why I am a photographer, I will be able do a better job in explaining just what that drive and desire is. Thank you .

  • Bryan Peek says:

    Great article. Sometimes it is difficult being the only photographer in the group….nobody else “gets” it. What we see,or how we see it. I think Annie Liebovitz said…and I’m paraphrasing…..”It’s something that’s always on. You can’t turn it off.”

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