In Photography it is Worth to Study Your Subject

Back when it was film photography, we were restricted to take 12 or 24 pictures per roll. Then, that film had to be developed and printed somewhere else. By the time we got the pictures back, there was a significant cost associated with each print. We were forced to study our subject.

For those of us that started back them, there is still a memory that we have to be frugal when we take pictures.

It is easy to fall into the trap of taking too few pictures, thinking that one is enough or that we already captured the subject.

The truth is that we have to come to the realization that is only digital bits, and we should, therefore, take the time to study the subject.

Macro of a Dandelion

And when I say study the subject, I am referring to taking as many pictures as we can; from every angle, with every focal length.

Look Everywhere!

Like Rick Sammon says: “Look up, Look down, look behind you!

Take as many pictures as you think necessary until you can’t find any difference between the last picture and the ones before it.

Silhouette Dandelion
Silhouetted Dandelion

This is not costing you any money and you never know which one is going to be the money shot!!

By experimenting in this way, you will not only get lots of different perspectives, but you will also be training your eye to see and to analyze what works and what doesn’t.

Exhaust all perspectives and all ideas!!

A single seed
A single seed

Compare your shots to others and see where you have been different. This process will stimulate your photographic eye in ways you never thought possible. Just do this afterwards…  Don’t look at pictures of others until you are done with yours. We don’t want to introduce extraneous ideas into the experiment.

Is also an experiment in patience.

By forcing yourself to explore every possible angle, you also force yourself to take your time with each photo. You have to think: “What will make this one different?“.

You will come out differentiating yourself from every preconceived idea that you might have about your subject.

Give yourself some sort of restriction. Let’s say: “How many pictures I can take of this subject in 30 minutes” or perhaps “I have five minutes to take 20 different pictures of this subject.”


Trust me, is harder than you think!!

Study the Subject. It is Worth the Time!

Change the background, change the lighting, change the lens, introduce other elements. When you can think of anything else, leave the subject (if possible) for a bit and return after a while. You will have probably thought of something different by then.

It does not end after the last picture either… You still have to edit them and because you took the time to study the subject, you will have a bunch of photos that look different.

When you do this, is up to you if you want to unify them and process them in a similar way or if you’ll like to edit them independently. You can make them look the same or make each one unique, in other words.

You can use programs like Adobe Lightroom, Topaz Studio or Luminar for one quick presets that will unify the look of the images or make them unique.

The important thing is to come out of the thought experiment with new ideas and a new way to look at things/subjects.

In the end, you will be a much better photographer, I guarantee it!