5 Ways To Be an Intentional Photographer

January 06, 2017

Photographs (noun):

Tangible representations of solitary moments; a captured memory

(I made that definition up, but it works, right?)

We are a generation, an age, obsessed with taking pictures, artsy coffee shop shots and selfies alike. However, I would argue that whether simply attempting to take a picture that will enrich your Instagram aesthetic or cataloguing a road trip with a friend group, each photograph is worthwhile as it represents a moment, a thought process, a time in one’s life that cannot be revisited but through memory and-a photograph.

As each photograph is meaningful, why not be intentional about the photographs we take? There are 5 thought processes that I personally use in an effort to be intentional about the quality of my photos and the story that they tell.

  1. Candids are photograph gold

    When I say candid, please believe me when I say I don’t mean those moments when you’re taking a group picture and someone shouts, “everyone look at each other and do a candid laugh!” I mean candid, the candid where you snap a picture of the friend’s reaction that got to see a sloth for the first time, or that moment where the two friends walking in front of you look unbelievably “fashion week-esque” in front of the city skyline. These are the moments that will bring a tear to your eye down the road or an embarrassed laugh from the parent that insists they don’t actually look like that when they eat.

  2. Look for natural frames

    Once again, I’m making up my own terminology, but natural frames are anything in the background of the subject that centers them in the frame of the picture, forming a pleasing symmetrical outline. It’s a yellow square that they center themselves in amidst a busy mural, it’s a frame in an art gallery that provides a frame within a frame, so-to-speak. It makes the subject apart of their surrounds, they no longer look super-imposed.

  3. Change up your pose

    I promise there are ways to pose besides standing on your good side with a smile and a hand-on-hip (although that pose is absolutely fabulous). Think movement, think walking across a frame while someone takes as many pictures, as possible. Think serious vs. smiling pictures. Think back-to-the-camera vs. face-forward pictures. Think squatting vs. standing. Small changes in the dynamics of your photos like position make a world of a difference.

  4. Pictures are for places, too

    You don’t have to be an either/or person, you don’t have to be the solely selfie or lonesome landscape person. Take a picture in front of the mural, but take a picture of it, as well, appreciate the art beyond it being an epic background, but feel free use it as an epic background. Take pictures of the bustling streets, of the deteriorating brick wall framed by random metal gates, wonder at what it used to be. Appreciate the unapparent aesthetics, capture things that will remind you of exploring, of experiencing.

  5. Organize and Save

    My most unexciting advice, so far, I know, but probably the most important. Pictures aren’t printed anymore, they’re on our phones, they’re thrown onto our computers, and we trust that they’ll be there until we get around to dating them later. Before “later” comes, go through and delete multiples of the same picture, categorize by date so you can find them late (that’s what photos are for), and backup your backups. Have a hard drive for your hard drive because protecting these tangible memories is number one on your photograph priority list.

 Take photographs, make memories, be intentional