The Most Important Photography Tip

There are many composition tips recommended by photographers, books, courses, workshops, blogs, etc. Everyone talks about them and they are certainly important and basic to create images that are not boring and that have a WOW factor. We also mention them in our blog and in our Photo-Tip-of-the-Day simply because they are important and secondly because the more you hear about them you will eventually learn how to apply them.

important photography tip

"The Eye & I" captured by Edson Reece (Click Image to See More From Edson Reece)

Composition rules are basic guides that tell you how an image will go from dull to exciting. Rules are also meant to be broken, but you have to learn why and when to do so. Some of the composition rules are even difficult to understand, you need a scientific mind to do so and I will not go into those. For me photography is an art so why complicate it even more.

Photographers already have to deal with color, light, contrast, detail, depth-of-field, modes and many other technicalities. At the end of the day you might be able to learn and apply all the tips and techniques but your images might still not be the ones that win photo contests, that get published, that get exhibited or that simply make you sigh.

The most important tip that hardly anyone talks about is ‘Train Your Eye‘. The eye of a photographer is his or her most important tool. Train your eyes to see light and you are on your way to creating awesome images. Train your eyes to differentiate 2D from 3D and your pictures will suddenly have volume. Teach them what is contrast and they will identify detail. You will create amazing images as long as your eyes make decisions on what to include in your photograph and what to eliminate, the choice of angles and light.

First tip to training your eyes – look at a scene, close your eyes and open them again. Does the scene cause the same effect as when you first saw it, in other words, did you sigh after re-opening your eyes. If you did maybe you have a great shot in hand. Go for walks and practice framing in your mind different scenes, open and close your eyes. When you are able to look at a scene and continue to be amazed you will have trained your eyes to actually see great shots.

training eye for photography

"Train of Darkness" captured by Colby Johnson (Click Image to See More From Colby Johnson)

Our eyes see the world in 3-D, photos are a piece of paper in 2-D. What sometimes feels like an excellent shot when printed it turns out to be a photo without interest. Train your eye, go for walks, frame your scene and then close one of your eyes. If the composition looses spark and now looks chaotic, then you do not have a good image, if you still sigh, see detail and perspective then you have a great shot.

Now squint with the open eye, suddenly contrast and detail will seem more obvious and things will pop out. If they do, you still have a great shot if they don’t then you are missing shadows and details. The more you exercise your eyes the more you will train them to see a great image.

Cameras have certain advantages and certain disadvantages compared to your eyes. Use them. Cameras can focus and see details that your naked eye will not see, so train your eyes by closing and squinting. Your camera will frame your subject and block the rest, your eyes won’t, train them to do so. Your camera only sees with one eye and your camera cannot read the balance between highlights and shadows. Train your eyes to see changes and different light angles. Walk again early morning and late afternoon and see how light goes through the leafs of the trees, how it reflects on water and on windows, move around, go up, go down and train your eye to see how light changes as you move around.

Train your eye to frame as your camera does. Take another walk but know with a frame made out of carton and pick your scenes. Soon your eye will be trained as your camera to see what the frame allows you too and block the rest. Practice a lot using this simple and cheap tool. Your frame can be a small 1″ x 1/5″ cut on a 5 x 7 photo paper or as large as a 4″ x 6″ on an 8 x 10 photo paper, as long as you can see your composition and block the rest.

photo tip

"Lighthouse Sunset" captured by Tony Lau (Click Image to See More From Tony Lau)

Train your eyes to see color. Walk around pick a color and focus on it. Walk some more and you will see that color popping out. Continue walking and focus on a different color, suddenly you will now see this other color. Practice makes perfect.

Train your eye and capture amazing breathtaking images.

About the Author
Each ‘Photography Project’ is a new challenge for The Duenitas Digital World, which we meet with great motivation and enthusiasm! We are technically proficient under any conditions and work in an unobtrusive respectful way. The Duenitas Digital World is flexible and reacts well to unplanned happenings; capturing the perfect image as we go. The Duenitas Digital World is based in Miami, Florida and covers South Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. We specialize in the following Photography Topics: Weddings, Resort, Real Estate, Product, Family & Event and Commercial Photography.

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

5 responses to “The Most Important Photography Tip”

  1. Tiberman Sajiwan Ramyead says:

    Thanks for the refreshing tips. As a DSLR beginner (all of 10 months!) I now realise that composition is a lifelong affair. I have also come to another conclusion: composition goes wrong when one is not honest with oneself; that very much includes marching away from the comfort zone (sorry for the beaten track repeat). A few days ago I was taking a shot in one particular spot in the cemetery where my ancestors are buried; a 1948 black and white shot of the same spot was beside me. I tried, tried and tried and just couldn’t get the same shot. I took me weeks to realise that the 1948 photographer (Michael Malim, also a writer) had actually climbed on top of nearby mausoleum for his shot.
    Tiberman Sajiwan Ramyead – Mauritius

  2. woh…that’s what i call awesome inspiring tips…. i have gone through lots of ebooks…trying to be better photographer…they all talk about the rule of third.and blah blah… whatever… but this one is i say its inspiring tips… thank you picturecorrect thank you

  3. This really is a GREAT tip! I am going to try this on my next photog outing!

  4. Paul says:

    Very nice tip! I will for sure use it in one of my next project! Regards Paul

  5. Fabien says:

    I agree that most beginners’ books concentrate too much on the rule of thirds and omits useful tips. Some other exercises can be:
    – walk with a shape in mind, like round, pointy, skinny, squared…
    – walk with a theme in mind, like street corners, benches, reflections of buildings…
    – walk with feelings in mind: happy, sad…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever