Learning To See Better Photos A surprising number of times the best photos are sometimes hiding in plain sight. One of the keys to being a better photographer is learning to see the great photo in even the most routine situations. That skill comes by being able to picture the world as if you're looking at it through the viewfinder. Professional photographers don't really have to go anywhere special to find amazing pictures. They get the big bucks for being able to find them right where they are. A lot of people image photography assignments as involving glamorous subjects and exotic locations, nothing could be further from the actual reality. The reality is you never know where you'll end up; tenant housing in an inner city, a stranger's living room, a homeless camp under a bridge, or following someone on the job around for a couple hours. Being a professional means going in anywhere, anytime, in any weather and lighting conditions and getting something amazing. Maybe you remember the stereotype movie director character portrayed in film, always walking around looking at the world through hands formed into a rough rectangle. Not to encourage any stereotypes here, but in a way that actually works. What you will sometimes see on actual movie sets is the director or DoP (Director of Photography) wearing a special lens around their neck fitted with an eyepiece. That lens is for doing a quick preview of a scene from the perspective of the camera. That same technique works for photographers. Screening out the distracting background and mentally superimposing a camera frame on the scene in front of you, where ever you happen to be. That's not to suggest walking around with your hands formed into a rectangle, unless you're okay with family and friends questioning your sanity, but learning to see the frame in your mind's eye. Being able to read people and access the situation quickly enough to give yourself time to walk in the technical settings on photos. What that means if you have to train yourself to find the "art" in any scene almost instantly, then figure out how to adjust the lighting and camera settings to capture the art already in your head. That's one thing your camera can never do. As sophisticated as DSLR cameras have become, they're not at all artistic. While they can meter a scene and deliver an acceptable exposure in almost any shooting conditions. What they can't do is know when to alter that perfect exposure in situations where less than perfect exposure makes a better photo.
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