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Defining yourself and your photographs

| January 11, 2009 | 0 Comments
Getting started in digital photography, but cannot decide where to begin? Define yourself as a photographer and make your choice of preferred subject.

While reading through “Digital Art Photography for Dummies“, I came across an interesting chapter that i wanted to discuss called: Define yourself and your photographs. Since there are many types of art photography, it pays dividends to specialize and master one type, before moving to another. If you want to specialize you should:

  1. Define yourself as a photographer
  2. Define your audience
  3. Master your tools & hone your craft

Let’s discuss each of the subjects in little more detail:

Define yourself as a photographer

According to the book, the purpose of the photography is to convey emotion. It is a way for a person (photographer) to freeze a moment in time, and by manipulating the light make a picture of his subject through his personal impression, and share it with his audience. The subject is the most important thing in a photograph. It can be tangible (e.g. a person, a statue, an animal, or a beautiful landscape), or intangible (such as contrast, color, perspective). If you want to find out what subject are you most comfortable with try to:

  1. Look at the photos that you have already taken. More often than not, one type of photographs dominates over all others. For some it is landscapes, for some it is people. Find one and stick to it.
  2. Another way is look at the work of masters. You can find excellent reference material on web page See which type of pictures arouses strong emotions in you and take that one for start.

Are you left-brained or right-brained:

  • left-brained person usually takes a more logical and analytical approach. Comes with better gear and through measuring and planning tries to find the best vantage point and conditions for shooting a photo. This type of person prefers organization rather than taking photos spontaneously.
  • right-brained person usually takes photos as he/she sees them, and basically shoots from the hip. These types of photos are usually more spontaneous, and their photographs are more random. This type of person addresses creativity before technical aspects of the photo.

Both approaches are valid, and posses different qualities. We are not saying that one is necessarily better than the other. The good news is that both of them can be learned. The goal in this case is merely to find which type of person suits your profile better and to be aware of it, so you can play to your strengths (which is quite important at start). In time you will learn to use both of these approaches to your advantage.

In my case I have identified myself as a left-brained person, enjoying taking photos of landscapes, close-ups and animals.

Perfect View

Perfect View by DPStudent on Flickr

Otter Portrait

Otter Portrait

Candle by DPStudent on Flickr

Candle by DPStudent on Flickr

Zagreb Funicular

Zagreb Funicular

Also try to be unconventional and unique. Explore common objects from uncommon perspectives. As I read in Scott Kelby’s book:”When you are on a shoot, if the by-passing people are looking at you strangely, chances are that you are doing a good job.

Define your audience

If you want to pursue art that sells, you need to identify your audience. Think in terms of:

  • What type of art does your audience like (e.g. portraits, landscapes, action…) ?
  • What type of art does your audience collect ?
  • Where will they purchase my art ? Is it a gallery, or online shop ? Stock website perhaps ?
  • What can they afford ?

It does pay to specialize. Try to find your own viewpoint and present it to your audience.

Master your tools & hone your craft

I guess that this part is self-explanatory. Learn to use your camera, explore various settings, and practice, practice, practice. After all, in the age of digital photography, the film is cheap.

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Category: Beginners Photography, Photography Lessons

About the Author (Author Profile)

Alan Graf is the editor and founder of Digital Photography Student. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, and is also editor of – a Croatian wallpaper archive, and his own photo gallery at

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