In the past few months, I’ve written a lot about how to show more emotion in your photographs, and to think of your photos as a way of saying something specific about your subject. To think beyond things like “this flower is beautiful” and instead get to the core of what you want to express about your subject.
I recently stumbled upon a quote by photographer David Alan Harvey that I think really helps explain how to do this: “Don’t shoot what it looks like, shoot what it feels like.”*
In the beginning, we tend to photograph what everything looks like, and that makes perfect sense as we’re initially attracted to photography because we want to record all the beautiful things we see in nature. But, then somewhere along the way, we start wanting more from our photographs. Something to set them apart from other photos of the same subject. And, the secret to that is photographing what it feels like, instead of what it looks like.
For an example of how this applies to a real image, check out this article I wrote a while ago that compares two photos I shot in the Alabama Hills.
*Special thanks to one of my favorite photographers, David duChemin, for sharing this quote in a recent blog post. He also has a lot more to say about it, and I highly recommend reading his post — duChemin has a strong talent for talking about this side of photography.
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About the Author: Steve Berardi is a nature photographer, software engineer, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of southern California.