Improving Your Creative Eye

Posted by on Wednesday, November 21st, 2018 in Learning Lessons

You may have heard the saying “writers write” or “painters paint”. But what does it mean. One thing it means is that if you are a writer, you are drawn to sit down and write, it is just something you want to do. Sure, you hear about writers block or going dry as you get close to a deadline, but those are temporary issues and when they are past, you want to sit down and write. The other thing, and this is my point, the more you do a thing, it is likely the better you will get at the thing. So, why do I think that and how does it relate to photography? I am so glad you asked ….


That is the secret to improving your eye! Everyone knows that if you lift heavy weights repeatedly, you will get stronger and stronger. That deals with a physical process, lifting stresses the muscles and then they recover from being stressed, that process makes them stronger. With a photographer, the process is mental instead of physical. Of course, however, this does not work for everything, I am not a painter, so I could spread oil paint on a blank canvas day after day, I still would not be a painter. But, if you have raw talent at something, you will most likely get better and better the more you do it.


The way this works, in regard to your artistic eye behind a camera, is when you take a shot, your mind eagerly awaits looking at it. So, you at the end of the day, when you finally get a chance to download your shots to your laptop, you mine craves to see what it helped create. You pull up the shots one at a time and critique them. It is in fact this critiquing that will improve your eye. You look at the pictures and you decide very quickly if you like it or not. That critique is surface level and only weeds out the really bad ones. It is not until you start sifting thru the better shots trying to pick the best of the good. That level of critiquing is much more involved, and your mind is really paying attention. You can only look at one picture at a time, so your mind hast to find the things it likes and the things it doesn’t like in one shot. Your mind then categorizes and stores this info so it is available when you look at the next shot. Bingo … that is it …. that is where the magic happens. Your mind just stored a lot of information about what it likes and what it doesn’t like about that kind of shot. If it is land scape, architecture, portrait or object, it really doesn’t matter, the next time you put your eye to the camera for that kind of shot, your mind will automatically review the “likes and dislikes” it has stored and will guide you to move slightly, for instance, so you don’t get the …. whatever in the shot.


If you go thru this process over and over again, just think about the amount of information your mind will have to help you. But it doesn’t stop there. After you have gone thru the process enough times (and I have no idea a number for enough, I suspect it’s different for everyone), your mind will go the next step on it’s own. Your mind will have enough information so that as it is processing the information that the eyes are seeing in everyday life, It will recognize ideal shots for you and you will find yourself stopping, letting your body and eye get caught up to what your mind is wanting you to see, and because you always have your camera, you take the shot.


Your mind gets its reward when you get to look at the shot later.

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