6 Steps for Mastering Meaningful Photos
Are you able to describe the entire process of creating interesting photographs?
Do you feel like you are making progress in photography and creating photos that really make an impact?
If the answer to either of these questions is no, then this article is for you. I will explain the six main steps in creating a meaningful photograph.
After reading this article, you will be able to choose the right actions to create nature photos that look like you and are unique.
Table of Contents
- The Little Story of This Article
- Why: Mastering the 6 Steps of Photographic Creation?
- How: Mastering the 6 Steps of Photographic Creation?
- Step #1: Define Your Photographic Approach
- Step #2: Define Your Photographic Projects
- Step #3: Get Your Shots Right on the Field
- Step #4: Properly Develop Your Photographs
- Step #5: Printing
- Step #6: Displaying Your Photos
The Little Story of This Article
It is 6:00 AM in the morning. The sun lifts its head above the mist that blankets me as I hid under my floating blind in Dombes region of France.
This is an intense moment in my life as a nature photographer, where the world seems to hold its breath in the early morning.
In front of me the pond is slowly awakening. I can make out the shapes of herons, but whether they are gray or purple, I do not know. I am stuck behind my camera, unable to move forward. With my 500 mm telephoto lens, I scan every nook and cranny of the pond.
Ideally, I am placed with the light coming from the side. I am in manual focus because the fog prevents the autofocus from working. This is a magical phase which only nature can provide. I stand in the pond for more than 30 minutes as I patiently wait.
It is in these intense moments of inspiration that ideas flicker to the surface of my mind. Today, I contemplate the different phases of creating a good photo.
If I am here today, it is not by chance. Everything was prepared even though I may not be fully aware. I think back on all the actions I have undertaken and the paths that have led me to be present in one of the most beautiful places in the world, practicing what I love: wildlife photography.
Using the microphone of my camera, which is placed on the gimbal head, I begin to record this article which you are reading now. Once again, I believe that this process, this story is a fundamental one. I have a duty to share my story with all those who crave adventure and desire to progress their career. My joy and excitement are so intense that I do not need to think. Everything flows naturally out of my mind and into my microphone. And now I will share it with you.
Why: Mastering the 6 Steps of Photographic Creation?
You are probably wondering why you should know the six steps of photographic creation.
Have you ever thought to yourself that photography consists of having a camera in your hands and then going out into the field to have fun?
You may be one of those photographers who only takes their cameras out to document a trip or a relaxing weekend. I think that this is bad. You waste your talent and energy by only sharing these rare occasions.
Knowing and mastering the stages of photographic creation will allow you to envisage photography in a different way. When you are out in the field photographing nature, you will create more interesting pictures that have a deeper meaning and impact.
What is more, and this is the icing on the cake, you will think about photography even when you are at home or at work. Your photographic mind will always be thinking of new things, and not just your previous experiences in the field.
How: Mastering the 6 Steps of Photographic Creation?
My method is simple.
Read this article with a pencil and paper in hand. Write down any actions that you decide you should take before your next photo shoot.
Never forget that learning and knowledge without action means nothing.
Take your photographic destiny into your own hands: act!
Step #1: Define Your Photographic Approach
The photographic approach is the most upstream phase for the creation of your photographs.
In my opinion, it is the most important for the photographic act. 95% of photographers, professional or not, do not attach importance to this crucial stage.
It is during this phase that you will define:
- Your photographic artistry.
- Your "photographic why".
- Your motto.
- The text that will justify your photographic activity.
During the photographic approach phase, you must have photographic introspection.
You must forget about technology, your camera, and any sudden developments. You have to answer such fundamental questions of why you decided to use a camera.
It is during this stage that you will build the foundations of your photographic building.
If this approach is well done, you can always revisit it when you have doubts about your ability to create photos. It becomes an intellectual refuge from the sharp criticism of some members of your audience.
Defining your photographic approach well is the guarantee for you in the future to remain serene and capable of maintaining confidence as you move forward.
Step #2: Define Your Photographic Projects
Once all the elements of your photographic approach are in place, you can then define the contours of your photo projects. It will be even easier once you have a clear photographic approach.
You will be able to define what you can and cannot photograph.
If, for example, you have chosen to photograph European mammals, it will be of no interest for you to visit Costa Rica to photograph the birds, even if they are exceptionally beautiful.
By perfectly defining your photographic projects you will not lose time by getting lost in the crossroads. You will concentrate on what is important to you. You will create photos with your unique style.
With your photographic vision, you will truly create meaningful photos that have a lasting impact.
To properly define your photographic projects, I encourage you to follow these steps:
- Write down your ideas on a piece of paper.
- Contemplate whether your ideas are consistent with your vision..
- Begin sketching out the story behind each idea so that you can share with your audience.
Step #3: Get Your Shots Right on the Field
Now that your project has been defined, written, and contemplated, it is time to venture onto the field.
In the previous phase, you have defined the story you are going to tell to your viewers or to your audience.
You then wrote a story board containing all the key elements and highlights you wish to photograph.
For example, if you chose a topic about the deer's bugling, you may decide to discuss the awakening of nature during the dawn. Then the appearance of a deer in an open space may become a part of your story. You decide to include images of courageous fights, a romantic love scene, and a close-up of a deer bugling. In short, you now have all the key points to photograph.
The realization of the shots requires the recognition of the field, the lights, and the search for the specific photographic elements to highlight your subjects.
You have to choose your foreground, backgrounds, and negative spaces to reinforce your story and ultimately those which your photographic vision.
You may have written a list of photos you wish to capture. Once they are shot, you will check the box and move on to the next scene. You must always follow your story board, for you are an artistic photographer.
If you photograph wild animals, you must keep in mind the making of the ground blinds.
If you have chosen a photo project related to landscape photography, the use of an ephemeris-type application is a plus for choosing where to stand.
In the context of underwater photography, the preparation of your dives is even more essential. Indeed, the dive times and the number of dives per day are limited. If you have not prepared your dives, you will not have the consistency and coherence that are the strength of good photo projects.
Act now to prepare for the realization of your photos in the field.
Step #4: Properly Develop Your Photographs