I’ve touched on viewpoint in previous posts, and for me, it is an important part of my process and how I approach my photography. By viewpoint, I am not only talking about my personal perspective, but how I use the camera to share my experiences through my images.

When I get to a location, the first thing I do is take a moment to get my first impressions. Even if I have been there before, or am returning to shoot a specific subject, I want to get a sense of that place at that moment.

I walk around with my camera in hand and start looking for the first scenes that capture my attention. I look for vignettes and the subtleties…light, shadows, texture and pattern. I move around. I look up. I look down.

And I look through the camera. Because what you see with your two eyes will be captured in a different way with the camera lens. Sometimes I pull out the polarizing filter, and without attaching it to the lens, rotate it and see how affects a potential subject with the light at that moment.

By this time, I have identified those subjects I know I want to shoot during this session. If I end up shooting additional scenes, or explore others as I go along, that is fine too. But at least I have selected my must-haves. Then I set up my shots, using the tripod, if needed.

Why is viewpoint so important? As a photographer, one of my goals is to share my experience of a location, or subject in a specific moment in time, with my viewer. I want to have a sense of the place I am shooting, so I take time to do that. And it is reflected in my photographs. Because when I do not follow this part of the process, my images become snapshots and not photographs.

And there is nothing wrong with snapshots. We all take them. However, if I am inspired by a scene and I believe my goal is to share that experience with you, why wouldn’t I do everything I can to make it my best?

  1. October 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Hi David,
    Absolutely fantastic perspective on what you are looking for when you go out there with the Camera in hand. I very much enjoyed reading this post and I am certain many more of yours in the future.


    • October 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm

      Thanks for the kudos Jim and I am glad you are enjoying my blog. Anything I can do to help folks out.
      p.s. My wife is a fantastic editor.

  2. October 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Good post, David. You and I think alike on these matters. Planning on you perspective ahead of time, can make the job easier.

    • October 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm

      Oh it sure does. Doesn’t mean we don’t have fun out there…I have just found when I am more [focused] the photo session/shoot is more successful.

  3. October 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Sometimes I just leap out and start snapping…other times I just walk around and turn my head back and forth until it hits me. 🙂

    • October 5, 2011 at 4:04 pm

      You have to do whatever works best for you. Doesn’t that hurt though?

      I am borrowing this from a fellow blogger Cheryl Velez

      A good photograph is knowing were to stand.
      Ansel Adams

  4. tedgriffith
    October 5, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Excellent advice, David!

  5. October 7, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Loved reading your post as well as your photo. I took a similar photo yesterday morning while playing with my new tripod. I’ve never owned one before and had fun seeing what I could do with it.

    • October 7, 2011 at 8:56 am

      Glad you enjoyed it. Congrats on the new tripod! Soon using the tripod will become second nature. I still shoot handheld at times but I always have the tripod with me. Using the tripod makes me slow down and really see rather than just look.

  6. October 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing you thoughts about viewpoint. Like you, I believe viewpoint is an important part of being able to express a personal vision. It reflects directly to who you are as a photographer. But unlike you, I have a more intuitive approach to the photographic process. I let myself into a situation and start to react to whatever comes to me. That is what is wonderful about photography, we all have our own way of working and expressing our vision.

  7. October 9, 2011 at 10:17 am

    That is what I like about photography as an art form also. There is no right or wrong way to express one’s vision. You have to do what works best for you.

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