One of the Most Important But Overlooked Skills for Beginning Photographers and Videographers

When you're first starting out in photography or videography, the sheer number of things you have to learn and simultaneously apply to be successful can feel a bit overwhelming. This great video talks about an important skill that we often overlook. 

Coming to you from Basic Filmmaker, this helpful video talks about developing the eye for detail in the frame. When we're just using our eyes normally, we tend to focus and think about one thing at a time, but when we're looking through the viewfinder, we need to learn to take in and assess the entire scene at once: not just the subject, but the background and any potentially distracting elements. It's important to make a habit of reminding yourself to turn on your "photographic eye" when shooting, lest you may sit down to your computer and find things you didn't even notice in your images. Such a skill is particularly important in fast-paced genres where you don't have control of a lot of elements in the frame, such as wedding photography.

Although the video is geared toward video work, it's just as applicable to photographers. And if you're really serious about video, be sure to check out "Intro to Video: A Photographer's Guide to Filmmaking."

Lead image by Huy ProShoot, used under Creative Commons.

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5 Comments

Mark James's picture

I still make this mistake now and then. I tend to review the scene in my head at the start, but once in awhile, I forget to recalibrate when we change things in the scene. I'm just not to that point, where it is automatic, but It happen much less now.

Simon Patterson's picture

He's right both that it is important, and that it takes time and work to train ourselves to do it.

Really good simple advice for those starting out. Much better than all the tech talk that plagues popular youtube channels etc.

Michael McCray's picture

As a medical photographer learning to look was the key skill. In ophthalmology doctors are taught how to look at a retina and use to be required to draw what they see. When I worked as a photojournalist I learned that connecting the heart and eye (or mind in reality) was the vital skill to develop. F stops and shutter speeds and working the camera are not the primary skill. Coming full circle (my major was Photo-illustration in the 70's) the challenge is learning to take what is in my heart and create something I can see with my eyes with the wonderful tools available today.

Bottom line: if you don’t “see” get your eyes checked ASAP