Tree Identification For Photographers
Photography Blog

Identify Your Photographic Subject

Can you identify your photographic subject? How intimately do you understand it?

With a background in commercial tech I learned 3 important fundamentals. To know your product, your market & your competition. These principles evolved and taught me to appreciate value far beyond price.

I ask if this translates to woodland photography somehow? Could it add a ‘value’ for us if it does?

This post isn’t meant to be controversial & comes with a couple of observations & a question.

Ob. 1 • Have you ever noticed just how deep the great photographers know/knew their subject? 
How intimately Ansel knew the mountains, for instance.

Ob.2 • I often see photographers explain the importance of exclusions in a ‘good’ composition, but rarely do I see this extend to entire compositions. What ingredient makes one composition more viable than another? 

Ob.3 • In summary, we give the vast majority of our attention to gear, fundamental principles and detail. Should we draw some of that attention to knowing our subject more intimately? 

I’ve been pondering this thread for a while now. Recent times have given me an opportunity to reflect, and out of that comes a desire to deepen my knowledge of the subject I shoot. Forest flora.

If I understand what I see in far greater detail, I ask myself; how can that not influence me in a positive way?

The obvious laws of photography apply regardless.. but will knowing it rained all night, on a previously dry forest floor covered in moss, be prime for a rising mist at dawn? Will I pick up a macro lens or go wide?

Will the budding of a particular wild shrub or seasonal cycle of an exotic tree influence my adventures?

Yes! of course it will

So, the question is; how well do you intimately know your subject? If you knew more, could your work be positively influenced and take that portfolio to a new level?

I keep coming back to that notion.. the greats intimately know their subjects like any expert, in any field.

Is photography science enough? No! And, perhaps the void might best be filled with subject knowledge?

If we’re to make better decisions, choose wiser compositions and elevate our results.. We must learn.

I’ll be chatting about this on my YouTube channel over the coming months.

How well are you able to identify your photographic subject?

To what degree does the very nature of the subject your shoot influence your photography decisions?

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