Columns » A Photo Life

Answer this question to make better photographs

by

comment
© SEAN CAYTON / ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
  • © Sean Cayton / All Rights Reserved
“You can find pictures anywhere. It's simply a matter of noticing things and organizing them.” - Elliott Erwitt

Erwitt is one of my all-time favorite photographers and his description of how to find and take pictures sums it up for me.

Returning to my shoot in New York City, I want to talk about photographing space and how Erwitt’s description of finding pictures encapsulates so much of what photography is all about.

By it’s very nature a camera has a defined boundary or frame and one of the pre-requisites to taking a picture is deciding what goes in that frame. Often overlooked, but just as important is what is not to include in the frame.

If you photograph regularly you will find that this is a problem that is to be both accepted by you the photographer and ultimately overcome. The question is posed on a subconscious level. Whenever you pick up your camera, it is literally asking you this question. What are you going to include in this frame of yours; how are you going to include it?

It’s up to you to answer this question.



Organizing the elements within the frame so that it makes sense and ultimately “speaks” to anyone else who views the picture is the ultimate challenge.

Photography is no different, than say, writing a poem. There are lines on the page that must be filled in and how you do that determines whether your poem is any good.

I love street photography for that very reason. I must decide, and decide quickly, what to include in my frame and how to organize the elements so that it makes sense to me and to the viewer.

Here’s the thing — the more you do it, the better you get at it.

To illustrate, I’ve included some images of spaces that I photographed on my trip to New York City using my Fuji X100F. I love this rangefinder camera for many reasons, but one of the most important is that I’m able to quickly compose an image and arrange the elements in the image so that they sing! At least to me anyway. :)



If you have examples of your own. Please include a link and I will check them out and leave a comment. Happy Shooting!
Sean Cayton is a wedding photojournalist of 19 years and operates a successful, award-winning wedding photography studio in Colorado Springs. He's also an award-winning photojournalist. Sean is happily married to the love of his life (also his business partner) and is father to three beautiful children. When he’s not working, Sean can be found outside flying kites with his kids, hitting golf balls or casting a fly rod to hungry trout.

Add a comment

Clicky Quantcast