Thinking Like A Photographer

When thinking like a photographer, it is important to address the story and emotion behind each photograph, but one should never lose sight of the technical aspects. As much fun as it is to create a full and fleshed out narrative for a photo, it is also important to assess key elements and see how the viewer themselves could work from your framework to create their own story with the piece. Here are a few photographs I’ve taken over the years that I’d like to analyze.

This first photograph is from downtown DC at nighttime. The area is beautiful and always has some sort of decorative lights hanging between the buildings. This location is great for a photo, though this particular one could use some work. The bright lights are a little too bright, though they don’t contrast too starkly against the rest of the photograph, which is also primarily light. There is a good difference and balance between the dark in the upper half and the light in the lower half of the image. The perspective and sense of depth feels great, with sharp lines fading off to a point in the far back and the buildings towering up into the heavens. The foreground and background are broken up slightly by the dividing walkway between the two buildings a story up, but it is difficult to get a true foreground and background with much certainty here. With the inclusion of people enjoying a night out, a story can be built from this on a peaceful night on the town.

Next, we have a photo from a lake I visited with some friends on Spring Break right before the pandemic hit. I wanted to go for a very aesthetically pleasing photograph using the beautifully clear reflection while still allow for some of the rocks to show through the water to clearly show the placement of the camera. I also took the image slightly tilted, which may be distracting but also adds a bit of interest. The dark tree line against the bright, reflective water and vibrant sky adds a great deal of contrast and balance. The lighting works perfectly for this kind of photo, especially considering there is no direct light shining directly into the camera. There is a clear foreground and background, regardless of the fact that the image appears mirrored. A story can be built from this piece using a few elements, such as the tilted perspective to display the idea of you actually getting down on close to the ground and seeing this for yourself, as well as just the general vibes drawn from a beautiful sunset at the lake.

My last photograph I’d like to touch on is this shot from a Walk The Moon concert. The image is a bit blurry, but it almost works in favor of the composition, making it feel like more of a live moment than a staged photograph. The crowd of people serves as a foreground, being almost completely blackened out by the lighting, providing great contrast as well as showing the importance of lighting here. The light shining from behind the band is blocked enough to not be distracting an instead project an aura of sorts outward. You can feel the depth based off the crowd, and a story can be told by recalling other concert experiences and placing yourself into an active, amazing performance, being this close to the stage.

As one last addition, I used another photograph of a sunset I had taken as the cover art for this post. I didn’t want to touch on two sunset pictures within the post, instead trying to get different scenarios and feelings behind the few I chose, but I thought it would be fun to share some more!