contemplative photography Photo Journal

Lesson 1: Consider Your Vision

What is your vision as a photographer? Have you thought about it? Do you have a vision?

I read about photographers who talk about “style.” And I wonder what my style is. Do I even have a style? And I read about writers who talk about “voice.” I even teach writers to find their voices and to adapt their voices to their purposes for writing.

I don’t necessarily do the same to my own photography. This month, while I’m on hiatus from teaching written communication and composition, I am going to work through some of the lessons in David de Chemin’s book The Visual Toolbox, his vision of what a photography curriculum should include. The first lesson is a tough one: “Consider Your Vision.” De Chemin often puts vision ahead of technical matters of photography. For him, the “narrative” and the emotion conveyed by the image is more important than technical considerations of equipment and settings.

The first assignment is this: look through your photographs and identify your favorite images, not the ones that everyone else likes or the ones that are technically perfect (although they may be one and the same at times), but the ones that you like. Look for the things that they have in common and identify those elements. Some things to look for: subjects, color, lighting. These are part of your vision.

I am looking through my Lightroom catalog and identifying some of my favorite images. This is one of my most recent images:untitled-30

It is typical of my usual subject: nature. I tend to capture nature a lot! Well, it’s a handy subject for me! I live “in the country” and have lots of things to see. It’s not easy capturing a dragonfly, though, and I was lucky to get this one. And I did have to crop in a bit so that you could see the thing. I am in awe of Creation and the beauty that God has created in nature.  I also like to make images that have lots of “white space” around the subject so that I can add textures when I’m editing to give my images a painterly look.


I also look for textures in nature, especially in florals.


And I like to see the little details, such as those little “spikes” in the button bush flowers. I find that I use my lenses “wide open” with large apertures so that I can focus on my subject and create a blurred background.

Another thing I’m drawn to is reflections.


Just another way of seeing the world.

This is just the beginning of seeing what my vision is. What is your vision as a photographer?

By Olivia Fulmer

I am the OliviaIrene of OliviaIrene Photography. I am a photographer, a teacher, a story teller. I use this space to tell stories of life, family, and faith through words and images. I'd love to share your stories as well. Join me in this journey.

I love conversation, the close, intimate kind amongst friends. Won't you join me? I look forward to a good coze.

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