4 Tips to Develop Your Photographic Intelligence to Create Different Photos

You have probably realized that it is not easy to create interesting and meaningful photos.

You focus on technique. You read magazines, books. You consult websites to master your hardware and software. That is great, but it is not enough. Your pictures do not get enough attention from other people.

I suggest you understand the concept of photographic intelligence to create different and impactful photos.

This article will help you understand how to implement a new tool in your photography toolbox. By implementing it, you will make your photos even more interesting and instill in them true meaning.

Landscape in black and white of Great Sand Dunes in Colorado in United States.
Landscape in black and white of Great Sand Dunes in Colorado in United States.

The Story Behind This Article

Several weeks ago, I finished reading a novel that captivated me "Einstein Enigma" by Jose Rodrigues de Santos. I did not come out unscathed from reading this book. I reread several times different chapters to understand the hidden meaning of the text.

In the days following this reading, I wondered what impact this might have on my work as a professional photographer. How could I use some of the concepts in the book to improve my work and make my photos even more interesting?

I went back to my journal. I detailed several avenues of research. All were inconclusive. I abandoned them.

Yet one of them caught my attention. I dug deeper into the subject. I ended up developing the idea that I needed to develop my photographic intelligence. The result was remarkably interesting in my case.

I decided to share with you the idea that in order to create interesting, meaningful, and attention-grabbing photos, it was necessary to develop a strong photographic intelligence well before the actual photo projects.

The Purpose of Your Photographic Activity

Before developing the idea, I had to improve my photographic approach, I think it is important to clarify why we do photography.

You are certainly like me. The goal of your photographic activity is to create photos that have meaning, that translate your emotions and transmit your messages. You certainly want to create photos that look like you.

The goal you want to achieve is to make photos that hold the attention of your audience.

With this concept of photo intelligence, you will have an additional tool to create interesting photos for your audience.

Now that I have established one of the premises of our photographic activity (you and me), I will explain why you cannot create photos like in the "good old days" anymore.

You Cannot Create Photos Like Before

I prefer to warn you against a behavior that has become obsolete. Looking at, analyzing, and judging other photographers' pictures is necessary, but it has become insufficient nowadays.

This behavior was still valid until the years 2005-2010. But since the advent of the digital society and social networks, everything has changed. For better and for worse. This change is inexorable. It will become even more pronounced in the coming years. This is a fact. Neither you nor I will be able to change the behavior of the majority of human beings.

Personally, I am sure that if you just look at the photographs made by others and then reproduce them, you will not create interesting pictures. The pictures you show will have already been seen. You will only be copying.

Today, in our society, everything is moving amazingly fast. Most of us do not look anymore: we just scan. This behavior is valid for screens, but also for paper. 95% of people scan without analyzing deeply. They do not even read anymore. It is just deciphering letters. They take the time to read or look carefully when a detail catches their attention.

Another equally important factor is the concentration time is getting shorter and shorter. Remember this figure because it speaks for itself. The average "long concentration time" of a human being is now 8 seconds. You read that right. This is only an average, but when I read this figure in a paper on human concentration, I was very afraid.

In trying to take a step back from my behavior, I realized that I was often acting in scanner mode. In the morning, for example, when I read 3 digital newspapers to which I subscribe, I scan the headlines without going any further. Since my realization, I have changed my behavior. I try to concentrate for several minutes by reading the articles in an analytical way.

If your audience scans photos they have already seen, they will not stop. They will not take the time to look at them, analyze them and understand them. That is why you have to surprise them. You have to think about how to be different.

I hope that this analysis, even if it is brief, has convinced you. Now, I will share with you one of the new ways I use to create my photos.

Definition of Intelligence

This idea is called photographic intelligence.

Before continuing, I think it is important to define the word intelligence. I found two definitions of intelligence in the dictionary.

"Ability of a human being to adapt to a situation, to choose means of action according to the circumstances. »

"Quality of someone who shows in a given field a concern to understand, to think, to know and who easily adapts his behavior to these purposes. »

In these two definitions, it is clear that intelligence allows a human being to adapt to a situation.

Application to Photography

To apply these definitions of intelligence to the world of photography, I simply said to myself that in order to create attention-grabbing photos, I had to adapt to my audience's behavior. I had to understand what they wanted and needed. I had to adapt to a new situation, which is the lack of concentration and the increasingly short attention span.

In order to create my photographs, I had to put in place principles and methods to develop my photographic intelligence.

Clearly, it appeared to me that photographic intelligence had a meaning. The strange thing is that no one has ever considered this artistic and creative activity in this light.

I will define photographic intelligence as the qualities you will develop to adapt the creation of your photos to the expectations of your audience.

However, it is a simple method that allows you to make really interesting photos.

Tip #1: Do Not Be Ashamed to Use the Word Intelligence for Yourself

I notice that some words are banned. It is the case of the artist word, intelligence, intellectual, cultured, etc. For most people, these words have an elitist connotation. Many people do not dare use them because they feel ashamed.

I think this is a mistake. Why feel ashamed of being different? Being different does not mean being superior to others or being part of an elite. Personally, I do not hesitate to call myself a photographic artist. It is a function. In no way is it a state that would place me above my fellow human beings.

An artist is just a person who uses creative techniques to interpret the world around them.

I suffered many attacks when I posted my status. At first, I was often hurt. With time and experience, I learned that the people who made these attacks did not know what they were talking about. On the other hand, they were jealous, because they could not justify this state. Why should we always be like the others, average. For me, being average is not enough. I do everything to be different from others. I just want to be myself.

The word intelligence has the same effect as the word artist.

Many people do not dare to use the word intelligence for themselves. This is a pity when you know the definition of this term.

You need to develop your photographic intelligence if you want to create meaningful and different photos. You have to claim it, or you won't develop the tools you need to make photos that will please your audience.

Remember that you are not creating photos just for yourself. You are bringing satisfaction and pleasure to others. You need to equip yourself with the necessary tools to achieve this goal.

Tip #2: Develop Your Photographic Awareness

If you want to develop your photographic intelligence, you must first develop your photographic awareness.

Your photographic awareness allows you to situate yourself in relation to other photographers.

It allows you to develop your photographic personality, your signature, and your photographic approach.

Tip #3: Define Your Photographic Identity

Another important element for your photographic intelligence is your photographic identity.

It will give you an existence in photography. It allows you to be unique and to assert your artistic individuality.

Tip #4: Get Out of Your Photographic Comfort Zone

I am the first to cower in my photographic comfort zone. My job as a professional photographer is stressful and difficult. I have to produce new fine art photos all the time, search for new clients, create advertising campaigns, manage my company, etc. In short, when I can take a break, I do not hesitate. But it is not always a good choice. We are all the same. We are lazy. That is the nature of being human.

Your photographic comfort zone can be compared to a cocoon in which you live sheltered from the real world. You are comfortable there because you know where you are going.

Symptoms that show what you are in your photographic comfort zone are as follows:

  • Everything is planned, quiet. No event can disrupt the order of things.
  • As soon as you are in your comfort zone, you feel at ease.
  • You can maintain control over your actions, your emotions. You do not feel any particular stress or anxiety.

Living in your photographic comfort zone means living in a neutral position where all ideas are shaped by others. A person who lives in their comfort zone is content to follow.

In today's world, feeling strong emotions and living in one's comfort zone is done by reading trendy magazines, listening to the radio, watching television, getting information from the mass media which all broadcast the same information, because it comes from the same source.

To live in your comfort zone is to live your daily life in a world of illusions where the real world has no place.

If you want to write your photographs in an interesting, original way with strong emotions and high impact messages, you need to step out of your comfort zone and rub shoulders with the reality of the real world. This will allow you to be different from others.

What You Need to Do to Develop Your Photographic Intelligence

After the different points I have just explained, you are probably asking what actions to take to develop your photographic intelligence.

The key word is adaptation. Be imaginative. Be different from others. Act, challenge yourself.

I would advise you to develop the following points:

  • Study photographic writing to better tell your photographic stories.
  • Learn to understand photographic semiology to know the levers that make photos interesting.
  • Study the world around you to understand how people see your photos.
  • Dare to explore new creative avenues. Don not copy.

Above all, do not forget that the world has changed. We do not create pictures like we did 20 years ago. The society of men goes faster and faster. Nobody takes the time anymore. Show that you are different and interesting to generate interest.

Be humble, patient, constant, persevering, and persistent because the road to excellence is long.