How do YOU Recognize a Good Photo Opportunity?

How do YOU Recognize a Good Photo Opportunity?

Today I want to feature another reader question as a discussion starter in a Digital Photography School Community Workshop.

The question comes from Chris Homan who asks:

“I’d like to get some tips on how to ‘recognize’ a good photo opportunity. I love making photo’s of city scenes but when I look at other photographers, it seems they magically find scenes or objects that I will most likely just walk by.”

Do you have an answer for Chris? If so – leave it in comments below – lets have some good discussion.

Read more from our category

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Bob Schwabik November 15, 2011 01:38 am

    Patience is key. I work on the philosophy that in the final analysis the only person who MUST like my images is me, so that said, the recognition of a great image will vary by person. I've missed many a great photo-op due to lack of patience. Simply stated if you see a good scene stop right now and take the image as it will not be there waiting for your return. I always carry a camera with me, at teh minimum it's the Canon G10. While on a project several years ago the little G7 I was carrying at the time got me the cover of the USCG Yard calendar.

  • Mark February 25, 2011 08:32 am

    My favorite technique to find new ideas or opportunities is to continually go back to the same spot numerous times. When ever I do that, I load my favorite photos from my previous visits to the same spot on my smartphone (Evo 4G) and use that as a point of reference. This allows me to notice differences in lighting, color, shadows, etc and create a completely new image. Not only will this give you practice in adapting to tricky environments, it will also show alot of versatility in your portfolio, if that is the direction you are going.

    Also, you can try blending your different photos using the HDR feature in Photoshop. I havent personally tried this, but I hear HDR blending on images that are different based on colors, shadows, etc and not just exposure, can sometimes produce interesting results.

  • Debashis July 30, 2009 04:20 am

    Each of us has a fairly good idea of what we like to photograph. My suggestion would be to practice on familiar and interesting (to the photographer) subjects until you are able to control your camera well. Progress to spending a little time in visualising your shot before looking through the view finder....once there start looking around at other things....that is my two cents worth of suggestions

  • Larry May 30, 2009 10:15 am

    It always happens, the perfect photo op happens, when you walked off and left the camera at home, or no extra batteries. Or in one case, while instructing a class of youngsters in photography we discovered a water fall that no one knew about, I went to photograph it and I had forgotten to replace the memory card in the camera before leaving home.

  • Maxwell May 29, 2009 09:43 am

    1st. something has to catch your eye --- and be of intrest to you. In digital photo land, you can take dozens of photos if you like, composing in every imaginable angle..... Then if you can, turn off your automatic features on your camera and do the same thing again changing your settings between shots. This way, you will have a lot of pictures you will want to delete, but will usually wind up with a favorite..... Don't think the pros find easy shots all of the time, because they take thousands of photos and probably only keep a few

  • VonMansfield May 26, 2009 02:09 pm

    Try editing a publication or newspaper. I was an editor for my college's newspaper. Every night I edited I was presented with hundreds of images and tasked to find the best 5-10 to run in the newspaper. From doing this over the course of a year, I learned about other photographer's styles and what makes a good photo. Knowing what kinds of photos best tell the stories in the paper, helps you take the photos, which best tell the story. Editing also teaches you to rapidly critique your own photos.

  • Jan January 31, 2009 08:50 pm

    I'm starting to see everything in 'frames'. When driving, I'm mentally looking at the scenery thinking 'That's a nice shot.' or 'That would make a fantastic photo.' I don't always have time to stop, but I make a mental note to come back at a more convenient time or when lighting would be better. Sometimes I'll pass a subject several times until the lighting is just right, then stop and shoot. I often drive out in the region, off the beaten track so I can drive slow, and just look for an opportunity. With snow on the ground now, I look for the sculpted shapes the wind makes, or a hawk sitting high above watching a field for mice. My friend and I often pick a theme and go out looking for that.

    The latest theme we chased was trains. That one day as we drove to another city to get a 'different' shot, we passed an old cemetery, turned around and went in. This cemetery was very old and had beautiful statuary and snow laden trees, the sun was bright and the shadows were distinctive. Fresh untouched snow covered everything.

    From there we located the train station and discovered, to our delight, that a train was due in within 1/2 hour. While waiting we took shots of the heritage building. Our wait was rewarded with a big bright gold engine pulling shiny silver passenger cars. Upon leaving the station we spotted a cathedral on the top of a hill and stopped there. We had thought to take photos of the outside and soon discovered the doors unlocked. The massive columns and ornate stained glass were just begging to be recorded.

    Heading home we grabbed a lunch and went to a local park to eat and found an old fashioned carrousel house beside a river. What a photographers dream! I have to go back in the summer when the carrousel is operating.

    Then back in the truck to head home once again and low and behold, we pass a nursery that's open all year round. We went in and asked if we could photograph some of the exotic flowers. We were given permission and had a ball! They even had a live parrot for a mascot!

    The total cost for the day was some gas and lunch.
    So pick a theme and go out and shot! You never know where you'll end up. I get my theme ideas from amateur photo contests on sites like FaceBook and sometimes other contest sites or even what other photographers are shooting.

    You don't wait for an opportunity to happen, you go out and make it happen.

  • Tigreramon January 30, 2009 09:55 pm

    I don't look for those good oops, they just appear in front of me shouting me to take my camera out off my bag, that it why I take it with me almost all the time

  • Don March 1, 2008 03:02 am

    Having been a semi-pro and pro photographer for almost 40 years and having a partner that has been an artist and pro photographer for over 30 I could lecture on this subject for hours and only scratch the surface. However, one respondent, John the musician/photographer struck a cord with me,(pun intended),and leads me to some analogies that may help. A master photographer is much like a concert pianist. Natural talent is what probably sets them apart from all the others. In photography that talent is commonly refered to as having a "good eye" and although it can be "acquired", if you aren't born with it you probably won't live long enough to reach the top of the heap. My point is...a good eye is what you are looking for. You can acquire this by looking at every great photo by a master that you can. But you must also be able to identify what makes it great. In music, notes and rythem are the rudiment elements. In photography they are light and composition. With out these there is no music or image respectively. Don't put down you camera but invest more of your energy in understanding these two elements first. Yes, take your camera everywhere and if you can't stop to shoot at least shoot with the camera in your mind and shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. However, don't let yourself become a "digital shot gunner". That is a person that takes tons of pictures to get one good one and doesn't really understand why that one is good and all the others aren't. I know that this sounds like a lot a work but I can tell you two things. When you start seeing the parallels between your work and the masters the gratification far outweighs any kudos you receive from others. And, maybe even more importantly, you will start seeing the world around you in an entirely different and grander way where even the most mundane or qrotesque scene has deep meaning. You will have the eye of a master and none of us can really describe what that is like.

  • T-Fiz March 1, 2008 12:45 am

    I'm reminded of a line from the first Superman movie when photographer Jimmy Olsen asks Lois Lane, "How come you get great stories?" She responds with, "A good reporter doesn't get great stories Jimmy, a good reporter makes them great!"

    Additionally, in Superman 3, after all the hype of what just went on in the city, Jimmy's boss Perry asks him why he didn't have any pictures of the day's events. Jimmy tells him that he didn't have his camera with him. Perry then tells him, "A photographer eats with his camera; a photographer sleeps with his camera..."

    Cheesey references, I know, but I definitely got the point!

  • Scot February 29, 2008 03:32 pm

    I think that the most important thing is that which has been mentioned many times here. Slow down, stop and watch. I believe that there are those that "look" and there are those that "see". Train yourself to be the one that sees. A university instructor of mine once said something that has stuck these many years "realize that the world around you is fluid and given enough time something of interest [to you] is going to happen". It may seem a simple statement but is one that packs a lot of meaning for me.

    An example might be the following which occured at one of those very few moments that I actually took my own advice to slow down, stop and watch.

    During the local chinese New Year celebration and Lion Dance, I observed a group of young martial artists, all dressed up to participate in the dance, biding their time along the sidelines. In particular, two pre-teen young ladies were having a heated discussion about something very important to only them. One carried on a nervous continual bouncing motion while the other waved her index finger around like a magical wand. At the moment the Chinese lion moved in behind them the bouncing one bounced high and the waving one made a sweeping upward motion. The result was a charming photo of one little martial artist levitating the other with one finger, in the shadow of the lion.

    I don't believe that I have a particularly keen eye for recognizing a great photo op, but at that moment I knew "something if interest" was about to happen and I set myself to be ready.

  • Rob February 29, 2008 12:01 pm

    I like to have a caption in my mind for my images. I took an image of a mother duck with 2 ducklings trailing behind. The caption was "Are we there yet"? See something and imagine what could be printed under it.
    I am a firm believer in "filling the frame" and there are so many things out there that we really do not look at. Look at macro photography. Everyone knows what a bug looks like but not when it fills the frame.
    I read alot of photo mags I get from the library and so many images inspire me to capture one like it for myself. Thats the challenge. Sunsets and sunrises have been done to death but there is a great deal of satisfaction in witnessing and grabbing your own. No two are ever the same
    Finally, capture the light. Anything can make an image if the light is right. cheers

  • Diana Keat February 29, 2008 11:35 am

    It's color and contrast that strike me before I pull out my camera. I think I've gotten to the point when I recognize that the way light is hitting objects, people and animals will come out pleasingly to my eye. Sometimes I worry that I've captured it just a bit over exposed or underexposed, or I missed a detail or there's a detail that is superfluous to what I want to "say", so I take the same shot numerous times from numerous perspectives and two or three exposure settings. Usually, if I take ten of one subject, I get two or three that are real keepers. So there IS some trial and error for me, but I often walk into a situation seeing that it's something I want to capture. Then I "work" the situation until I'm satisfied I "got it".

  • Andrés Torres February 27, 2008 08:40 am

    I think that it depends on the photographer. Is the style of the phothographer that makes a good photo. You can see only a subject, or a moment that interest you, but, you have to print that moment. Some good photos are result of lots of shots to the same subject.

  • Eddie M February 27, 2008 08:17 am

    As already mentioned, observing your environment does help greatly. Just looking at an object from different viewpoints can help produce fantastic photos.

    I too look at photos taken from pros and amateurs but now I also started to pay more attention to the pictures in shoping flyers (Sears, etc). I look at composition, lighting, subect matter, etc. Hey they're photographers too!

    Good luck!

  • David Dasinger February 27, 2008 06:15 am

    One thing I do after I've been walking for a bit is stop and turn around. Change the perspective by 180 degrees.
    The most incredible experience I had doing this was walking out of a canyon in Death Valley and turning back to look, and I spotted some ancient glyphs etched on the crumbling walls of the canyon.

  • MtnTopRebel (Larry) February 27, 2008 06:03 am

    Rule of thumb is the best shots alway are when you don't have your camera. Solution never leave home with out it. I have a nice Canon DSLR, but most of my good shots are with the little Olympus P&S because its always with me.
    I am trying to resolve the stopping while traveling issue. Leave early when ever possible then you will have the time to stop. Last summer while going to Montana to work on a computer, We left early to do some shooting along the Clark Fork River between North Idaho and Noxon MT. We stopped to play with some shots of the river and an old bridge that services the small town of Noxon. This is a Pano I shot again with my Olympus of the bridge going into the town. I have since learned that the bridge is being torn out, and replaced some miles down the road to service Noxon and Heron, but it will never be the same. BTW I have sold many prints of a similar shot of this. If we hadn't left early, and planed on stopping we would have missed out on a neat shot and a pocket of cash.

  • Kim St. Dennis February 27, 2008 05:12 am


    read a good book on Composition!

    IMHO, it will sharpen your eye for composing photos. This I found helped me find what to look for more than just shooting everything I saw until something looked good (unless your a photojournalist). try here:

  • RealtorDave February 27, 2008 12:31 am

    I'm not a professional...just a dabbler. Sometimes you have to push yourself a bit to get out there and put yourself in situations where good photo opps may exist. And then take a bunch of shots. I was fortunate to have one of my photos chosen for the Kodak Picture of the Day ( on February 19th of this year. Check out the comments I included with the photo...they are exactly what I'm trying to say here. The photo was also displayed on the huge Kodak sign in Times Square. I drove to NYC to see it. It was thrilling and the reward made the extra effort worthwhile!

  • Michelle Potter February 27, 2008 12:24 am

    "Can someone make a summary of the answers given here?"


    1) Take lots of pictures. Every day.

    2) Keep your camera with you all the time.

    3) Always look at things as though you are going to take a picture of them. Stay in that frame of mind.

    4) When you aren't taking pictures, think about pictures. Look at photos you like, learn about techniques. Keep it on your mind all the time.

    Basically, if you only take your camera out when you find a perfect shot, you'll never find a perfect shot.

  • Pam February 27, 2008 12:19 am

    I like to drive to different towns, see things I have never seen before....

    then photographs just jump out at me!

  • J. Sanders February 27, 2008 12:08 am

    Can someone make a summary of the answers given here?

  • M February 26, 2008 05:27 pm

    One thing I've noticed; now that I have a blog, I am more alert to these "opportunities" because I have more of an aim. My categories include funny signs, architecture and interior, graffiti and strange objects and food. So these days whenever I'm out walking about I'm more sensitive to misspelt signs, weird/nice archi/inte, graffiti/drawings that seem out of place and weird/nice looking food, or just photographing cakes/nice food I eat outside. So I guess if you sort of set yourself an agenda, i.e. give yourself some key words, of a collection you might want to build up over time, that might help.

  • Jad February 26, 2008 03:58 pm

    Once you develop a passion toward something you will start seeing it in frames

  • james February 26, 2008 01:05 pm

    If you see life as you live it all things are are worth photographing. Let the smile on your face reveal the joy in your heart and that will manifest into a photo opportunity. Remember a photo is worth a 1000 words let your photo speak for itself :)

  • Azeem Qais February 26, 2008 11:39 am

    I learned a lot from the award winning photographs, when I go out for shooting pictures, say this weekend I wanted to shoot flowers, I look around all those award winners photographs in that flower category and try to copy them. Your eyes get train to see with this kind of practice.

  • John February 26, 2008 06:45 am

    Being a musician and an amateur photographer, I find a few parallels:
    1.) Practice. The more time you spend, the better you'll get. Even if it's only a little bit everyday, over time it adds up.
    2.) Practice specific techniques. Try to have a specific goal in mind when you approach your sessions, whether it be better framing, different light sources, or as Smitty said, use a state-of-mind. I find that I write better music when my emotions are stronger, and I think the same can be said for photographs. Also, if I wanted to get better at soloing, I wouldn't practice rhythm parts, same for photography techniques.
    3.) "Take another photo..." If you think 5 is enough, take 10, and then take one more for good measure. I can't tell you how many times I've said to myself, "Man, I wish I would've taken one more picture there!" Not to mention, you might find that you can see something else within the photo that would present an opportunity for a different shot.
    4.) Look at other people's work, but also critique your own. The best way to expand your musical horizon is to listen to people who are better than you, and the same goes for photography. Even if you don't particularly care for the style of one photographer, they may still offer something to learn from. Perhaps you don't like pictures of peaches, but maybe the lighting was "perfect" in that shot and you could try it out in a different scene(although like any other form of art, perfection is relative).
    5.) Get down low, go up higher, turn the camera upside down and sideways. The best way to see something that you didn't before, is to look somewhere else within the same place. A crooked tree might not look very good framed horizontally, but maybe a vertically oriented shot looking straight up the tree adds something to it.
    6.) Take a picture that is slightly "off" and make mistakes. I recently took a test photograph of my computer monitor sitting on my desk, nothing special, just a monitor. However, after accidentally bumping my office chair and blurring a second shot, I said, "Hey, I wonder what would happen if I blurred a shot with a slow shutter speed by pulling back from or moving towards the monitor?" It turned out that both shots were completely different, and one ended up being a picture that created a sense of speed, despite the original being a bland, stationary computer monitor.

  • Val February 26, 2008 05:43 am

    There are some great tips here. But it sounds like you are wanting to run before you can walk. Instead of walking by and looking for something you have to teach yourself how to see. Take one block and make pictures of that one block. Don't rush it take an hour or two to observe and shoot slowly. Visualize what the block might look like with different light or more or less people. Shoot pictures from all angles; bird's eye, worm's eye, wide angle and close ups. By shooting everything and "working" the scene you will find what you like and what you don't; and what works for you. You might even find that you find things the other guys didn't know were there.

    Like many comments above. The more you practice this, the better you will become and then you can just walk by and notice all the things in an instant that took you two hours on the first day to notice.

  • Carl February 26, 2008 05:24 am

    I've been photographing on and off for over 30 years. I can't say experience will guide you as much as just seeing things differently as someone else would.

    1. Use a different angle of observation. This can create a new expression or emotion from a typically mundane scene that everyone sees.

    2. Picture in your mind what you want and plan accordingly. This includes lighting and subject matter. Different light will set the mood of the photo. Subject matter draws you in.

    3. Patience will reward you. I've had to often just "wait-out" that perfect shot. Sometimes hours go by before the perfect shot "happens." Photography is 90% luck.

    4. Don't be afraid of: taking too many pictures; of experimenting with light or exposure or color or filters or black & white; Don't be afraid of learning; reading; absorb everything you can about photography.

    5. Have fun

  • Robert February 26, 2008 04:44 am

    I find that when I get a "great" photo its on a day that I took 500 shots that day. I also find it was a day I did something I dont always do such as framing different. or zooming in tighter than normal or what have you. One thing for sure is that you have to be ready when it happens.

  • Kim St. Dennis February 26, 2008 04:11 am


    1. Shoot assignments. Maybe photograph the doors in your neighborhood, maybe the service people in your city. But, no matter what shoot an assignment. You then start looking for things that interest you in a "will this be a good shot method."

    2. As others have said, the more experimenting you do, the more you’ll figure out what you consider a good photo and how/when to shoot it. For instance last night I went out to pick up dinner and walked past a rounded sectional window with white lilies in front of it. I know the spot it’s in and I think it would make for an interesting shot. Im not sure what it looks like during the day but it was interesting at night. So, the next time I have a moment I will go take the tripod and all the equipment I need and shoot the window. We’ll see what happens…

    3. Study the photos you take. Each time you see that fantastic shot taken by some photographer, it’s been looked over dozens of times, maybe edited in Photoshop, possible cropped from a larger image.

    4 lastly, learn the rules for composure. There was a post in these forums about how a photographer composed his shoots and his thoughts as he did it. It was a great example of how to think about what to look for and how to frame things. There are a set of rules that you can loosely follow when composing shoots. I don’t want to plug other forums, but try googling “rule of photo composure” and see what you get. Truly, these rules can enhance your photos and what you’re going to look for, a lot.

    Good luck & happy shooting!

  • Mark K. February 26, 2008 03:43 am

    Like NormMonkey said: "once you’ve found something that *could* be interesting, stop, look at it from all sorts of angles"

    I basically let something catch my eye, then look and consider it from other angles, or depths, or levels.

    I sometimes look at a shot and wonder how it would look printed and framed in a house. Would other people like it? Would it be something I would want?

    Aside from that I also agree that outside my preferred medium is more a challenge: I like candid shots, macro, and abstract angles of everyday objects - so I try portraits and landscapes when I get a chance.

    Good shooting!

  • Paul February 26, 2008 03:32 am

    I recognise them best by walking slowly, meandering and walking around things. I find the best thing to do is take a few shots of the thing you like but force yourself to walk around it, change the perspective, maybe get up high or down low. I know that's said maybe too much but it really helps.

    I also find that being with other people taking shots helps 'focus' me, I don't know if it's a competitive nature or what but I see things more with other people. The easiest 'this is going to look great' factors' I see are:

    *Strong lines leading through a scene (telegraph polls, roads, fences)
    *Side-lighting - almost always works best in my eyes
    *Colour Contrast. Be it a bold orange sign in a sea of concrete, or a red flower on a background of grass/fields.
    *Textures Contrast. As above but smooth near rough, grainy next to shiny, anything that gives a bit of a feeling of multi-texture often works as a shot.

  • Glen February 26, 2008 03:21 am

    Sounds weird but try to see the flow of reality as a series of still images. You could say "become the camera".

    Also compelling images often present themselves just by turning yourself a few degrees to the right or left.

    And I agree with everyone else who has said "take lots of shots". Lots.

  • Naurien February 26, 2008 02:56 am

    Not to completely repeat what everyone's said, but here's my thoughts... I've come into photography with an artistic background of quilting and painting 25mm tall gaming miniatures, and I've found that a lot of the elements I learned about there work here as well.

    Quilting, painting tiny objects, and photography all require a good showing of contrast (light vs. dark) to make it really eye-catching. In the cases of a quilt with tiny pieces and a 25mm tall mini, the contrast needs to be extreme in places for the eye to even catch the detail. Having just practiced on contrast in these two settings taught me how to look for and capture light and dark with my camera.

    The other thing I learned about my own likes and dislikes was that my soul is really drawn to bright and dramatic colors. With quilting and painting, it's in the pigments; with my camera, the colors are provided in nature, but emphasized with the light and the contrasts around it. It all works together.

    A third element that others have also mentioned is texture. Textures in a picture (or a quilt or a figurine) helps lend to the contrast. In this case, 'contrast' is more a matter of discerning how part A is different from part B, but is also related to light. A smooth surface usually reflects more light back. But a log, for example, has a whole sequence of crevasses which create shadows, giving the log an overall darker look. Placing the log next to the smooth surface makes a contrast of light because of the contrast of texture. But it's something that you would need to -know- happens, because when we look at the log, we don't think about the shadows and the light, we think about a log.

    The one thing that quilting and minis do not share obviously with photography is the concept of perspective. Think of it this way: when you see a picture of a field full of flowers, it's from the perspective of a person. When you see a shot of the flower with the blue sky and a leaf around, you're seeing it from the perspective of, say, a cat. When you see a close macro shot of the very dead center of a petal, you're seeing it from the perspective of a beetle. Practice seeing perspective. I did an exercise with my students once where I gave them a thimble and had them tell me what it would be for a Lego man, a Barbie doll, and a teddy bear. For the Lego man it was a tower, the Barbie it was a footstool, and for the bear it was a cup. Play around with seeing perspectives.

    Something else I learned to do when I was struggling with all my quilts looking alike was this: Test yourself. I -hated- orange. Could not stand it. So I went out and found a fabric with orange in it. I made a quilt for which I had to wash, iron, measure, and cut orange fabric. I had orange, red, pink, brown, and yellow were all in one block. As I was making it, I shivered and cringed, and took a lot of breaks, because it hurt to look at it. But once it was done, I realized how it all pulled together neatly with the border and backing and it looked fabulous. And now I don't hate orange. :)

    I've read that the first step is learning the rules of photography, and the second is learning how to break them. I found that my first step is learning the rules of what moves me, and then pushing myself to break them, and -then- using the photography rules to find a way to bring it all together to make it pleasing. So, find something that you're struggling with, and think of some way you can push yourself to experience and explore it, and therefore conquer it. Having trouble with taking a good cityscape shot? Look around for a spot to set up with a cityscape view and take a hundred photos over a period of time where the light is changing. Take two hundred, or three. Spend the next day looking through them. Find some way (whether your photo editing cropping tool or a square cut out of a piece of paper), and see what ways you can change the composition within the square. I've been shocked by the number of times I can take a picture of a bird in my backyard, think it's a bad photo because it's all tree and dead leaves on the ground, and then I crop it with the tree to the left, and the bird in the bottom third, and it's a great shot.

    Bottom line: learn what you like, and learn how to see. All that's done by experimentation. "Just go do it" seems... sometimes unhelpful, but when you experiment, put your mind into figuring out what you struggle with and take intentional steps to learn and discover while you're 'just doing it', and you can move forward. And remember, when you see phenomenal images from other people, that one amazing cityscape shot is mostly likely the one out of hundreds from that shoot that's worthy of anyone laying eyes on. Even the pros don't get it right in one shot.

  • Mike February 26, 2008 02:05 am

    It sounds odd, but an empty paper towel tube creased to form the approximate shape of a print can help. Look throught the tube as you would a telescope to frame the scene. It removes the distractions from around what you are looking at. We have all seen photographers frame a square with their hands. This just works a little better. A longer tube narrows the field and a shorter one widens the field of view. If you could use a short one with a sleeve around it you could then slide it in or out to mimic zooming. It is cheep, small and could fit in your pocket or glove box.

    Good luck. As it has been said, practice and training the way you look at things will help.


  • NormMonkey February 26, 2008 02:03 am

    I struggle with this issue a lot. Reading this article:
    ... really helped cast some light (heh) on the subject.

    I think step one is to keep an eye open for potentially interesting subjects. Always be looking, questioning. Keeping an open mind. Go out on photo hunts with the purpose of finding hidden gems in the ordinary world.

    Step two is, once you've found something that *could* be interesting, stop, look at it from all sorts of angles, study it and use Neil's rapid composition techniques to find good perspectives.

    As previous commenters have noted, light is the root of photography. Consider lighting, as well as other common compositional elements like framing, rule of thirds, simplicity, lines, flow / theme / connectivity between elements, etc. Naturally you must let your own creativity and interests guide you.

    I think an important thing to keep in mind here is that when we see impressive photos that look like the photog just stopped on the street for 30 seconds to make a snap, it probably wasn't that simple. A good photog can make hard work seem easy.

    Nobody has proven that creativity or genius is something people are naturally born with. I believe creative masters and geniuses are who they are because they worked damn hard to become so.

    The good side to that thought is that any of us can become awesome creative geniuses if we put in the time and effort.

    My final thought, echoed by lots of previous commenters, is that we should carry our cameras with us everywhere and USE them. I used to worry that friends and strangers would think I'm crazy carrying a big dSLR with me all the time. Now my attitude is to prove that I am indeed crazy about photography.

  • Tonya February 26, 2008 01:18 am

    What happens when you see other peoples photos is that you are drawn into the picture which is what we all want to achieve. Firstly look around you, look for the light, shadows, texture and form sometimes it's the perspective. For instance I and my 16 year old son went out shooting one day, we both took pictures of the same subjects but his are a lot different than mine, While I like mine, I need to go back and see what he saw because I just love some of his. If you can study your subject, go back at different times. I like to be spontaneous but sometimes planning is great. Comp. is also a factor shoot what you like and have fun.

  • Craig February 26, 2008 01:00 am

    Everywhere I go it seems that I'm always framing a potential shot. Whether it be a building, landscape, or people. Unfortunately, sometimes, when I do see a good shot I don't have my camera with me. Here in Minnesota, it's hard to always have your camera during the sub zero temperatures. The cold can play havoc on lenses, batteries, & cameras.

  • paladin February 26, 2008 12:47 am

    be in the moment. quiet your mind and open your heart. they are all around you

  • Lou Ann February 26, 2008 12:41 am

    Smitty said pretty much what I was going to say. My tendency is to do mostly landscape/nature and architecture shots. So, for the sake of learning and growing, I will often choose to find a photo-genre that is NOT my natural tendency. For example, the other day I was looking at some brick abstracts posted on a critique website by a photog whose work I like. I decided to try some of my own brick photography, and the other photog encouraged me as well. I went out with one lens and in some decent light and walked around the town where I live, just standing next to buildings and shooting the different types of bricks in the walls of the old buildings. MUCH to my surprise, I got some decent shots and now have a desire to add "brick abstracts" to my repertoire. I think I'll work on floral shots next.....

  • Kirabird February 26, 2008 12:37 am


    I agree with many of the above comments. Aside from Flickr and online sites, visit the library or bookstore and peruse through the photography books of some photographers who were quite notable years ago such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen. When I studied photography in college the professor had us write about some of their photographs which was difficult, but made us notice the little details that made a difference. You should consider a class, such as an intro college-level course.

  • Smitty February 25, 2008 11:58 pm


    As an amateur, I wrestle with the same question on a regular basis! The two best tips that I’ve heard (at least the two best that work for me) are to:

    1) Keep looking at the great photos of others (the DPS website, Flickr, etc). In every composition, try to identify the subject and what makes it compelling. If you think it’s interesting, then there really is nothing wrong with trying to emulate it yourself – you’ll eventually find your own ‘voice’.

    2) Keep practicing. Pick a subject every day and burn a ton of film on it. Take, for example, an ordinary subject like a mailbox or something more abstract like a feeling or a state-of-mind. Take some time to shoot it from several different angles, focus on different aspects of it, and just have fun playing with different settings and generally experimenting. You’ll find yourself becoming more adept at using your camera as well as getting better at taking something ordinary and making it (at least a little) more extraordinary!

  • barbara February 25, 2008 11:46 pm

    Take tons of photos and intently look at each one for cropping opportunities.

    And, whenever I take a shot, I always turn around and see what is behind me. I swear 30% of my better photos are behind my back captures.

  • VS February 25, 2008 09:52 pm

    When the time comes.

    You will know. :P

  • rolleh February 25, 2008 08:00 pm

    I also enjoy urban landscapes and street photography. Usually when I'm walking around town (at home or on the road), I try to find interesting details wrapped in the big picture: street lamp, fire post, interesting light, sun casting nice light or wonderful shadows. And of course people.

    The old but good advice also works for me: look up and look down. The most evident things might be in front of you, but not exactly in front of your eyes.

  • Puplet February 25, 2008 07:48 pm

    My heart literally lets out this weird buzzing feeling. If I find my walking pace slowing down involuntarily, and if my heart-rate slows right down at the same time, there's usually a good picture to be had somewhere. Maybe it's spider-senses.

  • Pernod February 25, 2008 07:24 pm

    I will often set myself some 'constraints' to work within, and then I find the shot within those... Some examples are:
    ** Black and white portrait of strangers
    ** Only take a single 50mm lens out with me (or a wide angle etc)
    ** Find a shot in a single street only

    I often find that my plans deviate as the day progresses, but having a starting point gets me 'in the zone'.

  • Jon February 25, 2008 12:08 pm

    I think its more of a feeling that one gets when in a certain situation. For this reason along is why I carry at least 1 camera with a good zoom and 2 cards all the time. Even when I go onsite to some of my clients location there could be opportunites abound. Mainly though I feel that no matter how hard you try the opportunites are there you just have to understand light and what is being presented. Most of us probably would not shoot anything seriously at noon yet textures are abound during that time. I've learned to adapt to the condition and I usually will find the shot . Also having my iPod with some excellent jams on it puts me in a real good mood.

  • rlapoint February 25, 2008 12:01 pm

    I look at as many photographers' work that I can both professional and amateur. That usually gives me inspiration and some starting points. Lighting, color, composition, etc.

    Take a lot of shots and then take some more.

    When you are looking at someone's best shots, it's probably the one of many shots not near as good.

    Work on composition....then technique.

    A tag line I've remembered: "When you get in to photography, you just look at the world differently."

  • daniel February 25, 2008 11:50 am

    Pick a small location such as a street park, or back yard and spend a few hours taking as many photos as you can! If you walk more than 2 meters without taking a photo you've probably gone too far!

    Doing this will train your eyes to look at the smaller image and to home in on details such as shapes, textures, colours and compositions. Simple things like a rusted lock on a garage door now become interesting as you begin to notice how their texture and colours contrast with the smoothness of the door.

  • Jaiwanjin February 25, 2008 11:08 am

    I posted a comment yesterday night and it still says awaiting moderation, so I'm trying one more time as everyone else's seems to be going through ok. If it doubles I apologize!

    While I’m still working on it myself, I’d say a big part of it is just being in tune with your surroundings. Generally I tend to either see something I want to shoot, then start looking to see if the lighting works, and most recently I’ve started to see good lighting opportunities and start hunting for something to shoot from there. It’s really all about “taking it in,” wherever you happen to be. Today while eating dinner I found a half cup of juice happened to perfectly line up with some text on the outside of the clear cup. I looked around for some interesting back lighting and took some random shots from there.

    Unfortunately being in tune with your environment and “taking it all in,” generally seems to require tuning everything else out. (At least for me it does.) So in general when I’m out with people I have to choose between being social, or kind of wandering off into my own world to check out whatever catches my eye. I tend not to get very good pictures when I’m with other people who aren’t also into photography.

    One last thing is to get a feel for how things will look in camera. Because having two eyes gives us depth perception and 3D, as a beginner I was often deceived into thinking a scene would be attractive on camera, only to find it was anything but in 2D. Close one eye, and think of your eyeball as a 50mm lens with a really big image circle (larger, and rounder than full frame.) Holding your hands in front of you in a small rectangle shape will give you an idea of how much your camera will be able to capture at that 50mm length. That’s a good start to picturing how a photo will look in your head, and learning how various wide angles and telephoto lengths look just all comes naturally with practice.

    I apologize if any of this is already common knowledge to you, but maybe someone else reading it may get something they didn’t know out of it.

    Sorry for the long post, and good luck!

  • Debbie Brock February 25, 2008 11:07 am

    The only way to get that magical photo is to take lots of pictures of everything,from different angles and exposure. I was randomly taking shots of object in my house. One of which was of the dinning room table. The table was covered with a table cloth with harvest colors, a terracotta flower pot, a large squash and thanksgiving pumpkins and a large soup cup.

    When I looked at the photo what I had originally ignored while taking the photo was that the color of the table cloth and all the object on the table together with the strong shadow cast by the evening sun through the dinning room window created the effect of its having been lifted from the canvas of one of the OLD MASTERS (this is my husband favorite photo).

  • Eric February 25, 2008 11:02 am

    Two thoughts:

    First, you need to be out there. A lot. Always have your camera with you, and just be out there as much as you can. The surest way to miss a good photo is to be at home, inside, watching TV when the opportunity comes up somewhere else. I think the best photographers are simply out there shooting more than the rest of us, and consequently shoot more and wind up with more awesome images.

    Secondly - and this took me forever to get the hang of - learn to see the light. Don't look for subjects, look for light. Bright light, vivid light, diffused light, colored light. I can guarantee you that where there's good light, there are good photos to be taken. Time of day and weather conditions are the most important factors, IMHO.

  • Dustin Diaz February 25, 2008 10:35 am

    I'm with many of the other commenters, since the truth is, "we don't know." That's why we take a lot, and we take our camera with us everywhere.
    On the other hand, I *do* happen to notice more photo opportunities when I *don't* have my camera with me. It's during those moments that makes me frown and say to myself "of all the darn times."
    Nevertheless, I find moments when I'm around friends and family the easiest of times. Naturally being around *life* and not just still subjects sitting around in my bedroom or office, I find the likelihood of capturing a great moment to be much higher.

  • Michelle Goodall February 25, 2008 09:15 am

    For me, I may have something lodged in my head of something or someone that might make a great photo. But, more often than not I'll be out looking for that "something" and I see something else that I have to jump out of the car and get a shot of.
    I've learned to see things on a whole different light which has made for some mighty interesting moments!

  • Bro February 25, 2008 08:53 am

    you said : "they magically find scenes or objects that I will most likely just walk by"

    This means that you still don't have the photographer eye, and it's easy just surf throught alot of good photographers pictures.. and by time you will recognise alot of great shooting opertiunities that in the past you wouldn't never think that it might make a picture, and concentrate in the enviroment around you you will find alot of great pictures

  • Don February 25, 2008 08:46 am

    Always have your camera with you and ready. My wife and I take our cameras everywhere.

    The picture you are talking about is the picture many would not take and it is the missed shot. Just take it. It is the shot you see and you "Nah, that isn't anygood."

    Shoot shoot shoot, then download, look at it fullscreen, then play around with cropping, there is always a picture there somewhere and most of all have fun.

  • Laura February 25, 2008 08:44 am

    Since becoming more of a photographer than one who just takes snapshots I've noticed that I look at life in a whole different way. I'll bet a day doesn't go by that I don't see some kind of scene and think or say "That would've made a great shot!" That goes for landscapes, people shots, wildlife...the who shebang.

  • Emz February 25, 2008 08:00 am

    I usually find good photo opportunities when I'm out and about - I never go anywhere without my camera. I focus on what's around me looking at all sorts of things until something catches my eye and I need to capture it. I can take up to 300+ photos in a day because I find so many things. Taking lots and lots gives you a wider range of decent pictures. Plus it enables you to get familiar with your camera settings - weaning your way off of auto mode really makes a difference!

  • Sela February 25, 2008 07:23 am

    If you need a boost-- study DESIGN in photos-- lines, curves, shapes, colors, pattern: the elements of design. Then you can wander upon the most seemingly uninteresting scene (i.e. nothing unusual happening etc) and find tons of great images. For practice, try to go out not looking for some interesting subject to photograph, but instead looking for elements of design.

  • murfam February 25, 2008 05:47 am

    I find that when I'm "seeing pictures" at my best, it's because I put an imaginary frame around whatever is in front of me. That way I concentrate on what the camera will capture and sort of fade out the rest. If you're new to this, try holding your hands up in front of you with your thumbs touching and your index fingers raised. This will frame what your looking at, and you might be pleasantly surprised by how this "framing" will help you to find more interesting shots.

  • Honza February 25, 2008 05:42 am

    I think that almost everything is a photo opportunity in some kind. Anything can make a good photo, it's up to photographer and his style. My advice is to look around you, not just walk by. And when something catches your eye, make several photos.

    There is an other way around though. When you're somewhere for example waiting, try to sit and look around. Find something to shoot and make some photos.

    There are different opportunities for different photographers, no ultimate opportunities. Just look around, "feel" your surrounding and shoot whatever you like.

  • Brian Auer February 25, 2008 04:48 am

    Asking the question "How do you recognize a good photo opportunity?" is like asking "How do you know you're in love?". It's not something you can completely explain to others -- you just know it. It's something that can't be found if you try too hard. And it's something that can give you a false readings on first impressions.

    My advice: let it happen. Try too hard and you'll just get frustrated. Keep shooting and let your photography evolve on its own.

  • Dako February 25, 2008 04:39 am

    I think it's a combination of looking at great photographs of the "style" you like (macro, landscapes, portraits), and taking lots and lots of pictures. With time you'll start getting the hang of which photographs work, or in other words, you'll start noticing the photo opportunities.

  • wilsonian February 25, 2008 04:15 am

    It also pays to pay attention to light. Things have a whole different look as the sun rises and after it sets. And when dark stormy skies make you to want to stay in, that's just the time to head out.

    And I definitely agree with everyone who said to take lots of shots. Lots.

  • Heather February 25, 2008 04:13 am

    For me it has been two things:

    1. Practise
    2. Step Back

    They go hand in hand. When I take the time to look at things from different angles, and when I look at the details around me that I normally wouldn't take the time to notice, I find great photo opportunities!

    It's like watching a little child on a walk. They go slowly, they stop to look at the dirt, the grass, a pebble, an ant, etc. When you take it slow like that, and when you take a few moments to look around thoughtfully, you may find yourself seeing things you hadn't before.

    And shoot a lot! If you think something MIGHT make a great photo, take some! The worst that could happen is you'll choose to delete them later. After doing that a few times, you may start to find some little treasures on your memory card ;)

  • Canadian Mum February 25, 2008 03:53 am

    I think it comes a lot with experience.
    The more pictures I take - the more aware I am of what I can capture. I start to see new sides of things and attempt a couple of shots. I may find that it is exactly what I was looking for - or I may discover that I need to take a second look, because it is totally not going to be what I wanted.
    I think the best way to find that magic picture... is to just keep snapping. Take pictures of everything. Take pictures everywhere. When you are going back over those pictures, you will start to have that "if only I had...." moment. You will start to see that maybe you could have gotten lower, or closer, or farther, or framed more to the left.
    That is the start of seeing that magic!

  • Chrissy February 25, 2008 03:50 am

    Always be on the lookout for shots, just by being aware of your surroundings. Take LOTS of photos, and go through them to see what works for you. If you still need more help, look through photos on Flickr, and look at what's popular, or just photos that you like. Then try to replicate what that photographer did.

  • Klaidas February 25, 2008 03:47 am

    My glasses act as a viewfinder... I guess :-D

  • Michelle Potter February 25, 2008 03:40 am

    I don't think I am necessarily one of those photographers who is catching the shots you wish you took, but I find that my best pictures happen when I'm taking a lot of them. For example, I might suddenly see a great photo opportunity when I am in the middle of shooting something else. Or when I am taking pictures every day, I am more likely to see something I want to shoot. When I put my camera away, or when I only take it out to take a quick picture of this or that, I stop seeing all the best opportunities.

  • Colby G. February 25, 2008 03:16 am

    I think it's a matter of keeping photography on your mind (which can be fairly hard to do). For most of us, it's a hobby and it's something we like to do in our spare time, but that usually means we're not constantly thinking about it. Make a conscious effort to "think photography" wherever you go and you may surprise yourself finding hidden scenes where you previously would have just walked by.

  • MBI February 25, 2008 02:44 am

    If I see something that makes me want to take a second look, that's a potential photo op.

    If I see something that makes me think "gee, I wish was here to see this", that's a photo op.

  • Lee February 25, 2008 02:14 am

    I tend to agree with what others have said. The main thing is to be ready for when you see something that catches your fancy. I have gone on photo "safaris" where I've driven for three or four hours looking for something to shoot and then I find an interesting subject and spend the next hour or two shooting away to my heart's content.

    There have also been the times when I've caught something interesting to shoot and had no camera with me. Those are the frustrating times.

  • Jaiwanjin February 25, 2008 02:09 am

    While I'm still working on it myself, I'd say a big part of it is just being in tune with your surroundings. Generally I tend to either see something I want to shoot, then start looking to see if the lighting works, and most recently I've started to see good lighting opportunities and start hunting for something to shoot from there. It's really all about "taking it in," wherever you happen to be. Today while eating dinner I found a half cup of juice happened to perfectly line up with some text on the outside of the clear cup. I looked around for some interesting back lighting and took some random shots from there.

    Unfortunately being in tune with your environment and "taking it all in," generally seems to require tuning everything else out. (At least for me it does.) So in general when I'm out with people I have to choose between being social, or kind of wandering off into my own world to check out whatever catches my eye. I tend not to get very good pictures when I'm with other people who aren't also into photography.

    One last thing is to get a feel for how things will look in camera. Because having two eyes gives us depth perception and 3D, as a beginner I was often deceived into thinking a scene would be attractive on camera, only to find it was anything but in 2D. Close one eye, and think of your eyeball as a 50mm lens with a really big image circle (larger, and rounder than full frame.) Holding your hands in front of you in a small rectangle shape will give you an idea of how much your camera will be able to capture at that 50mm length. That's a good start to picturing how a photo will look in your head, and learning how various wide angles and telephoto lengths look just all comes naturally with practice.

    I apologize if any of this is already common knowledge to you, but maybe someone else reading it may get something they didn't know out of it.

    Sorry for the long post, and good luck!

  • Eric Lam February 25, 2008 02:04 am

    I guess every photographer have some favorite patterns. For me, it is "curves that end" or "ends that curve." Whenever I walk around the city without a camera, I will be kicking myself when I see those patterns.

    Sometimes I will commission myself (laugh) to go to a place and start taking pictures there. You'll be surprised how much details you can capture within a space. For example, I've done this at home, at the office, and while inside a cab. Just took whatever I thought was interesting. Could be fun at the end of the day. Could be a total waste of your time (ATM booth). Either way, fun.

  • Robin Ryan February 25, 2008 02:03 am

    I think that with practice you just learn to stop seeing normally, and start seeing as if through your lens all the time. If you're particularly into close-crops, your eyes learn to narrow and observe "shots" from all angles as you walk by. You learn what looks good, and when you see it, you know it.

  • D.G. February 25, 2008 01:37 am

    Well, to be honest, I thin it is just being in a state of awareness, and excitement... the obvious is of course those things that you say, "wow" too, but then it is also fun to practice and go to a mundane area, and force yourself to take creative fun pictures in a "basic" place... it taught me well

  • Mike Woodhouse February 25, 2008 01:31 am

    It always seems that the definition of a good opportunity is the one where I don't have a camera, have a camera but can't use it (like at 70mph driving) or have a camera but it's the wrong one or I don't have the lens/flash/filter I need.

  • Brian February 25, 2008 01:26 am

    I think its different for everyone. A good photo opportunity to someone may be nothing to someone else. I think the key is to stay very alert and aware of your surroundings at all times, and try to keep an open mind. There is no checklist for a good photo op, its just up to you to see something unique. If in doubt, take the picture and see how it turns out.

    And always, always keep your camera with you if possible. If its not possible (maybe you own a bulky D-SLR), and see a good picture, maybe write down the location or snap a picture from a camera phone, and return later with your usual camera.

  • Matt Gibson February 25, 2008 01:13 am

    First off, make a habit of taking a camera with you everywhere you go for a while. Remind yourself as often as you can that you've got it with you, and actively look for photos. You won't manage to keep the idea in the forefront of your mind all the time, but keep on reminding yourself. In time, this conscious looking should become unconscious habit, and it'll trigger even when you're not deliberately looking for a picture.

    Second, a lot of photos aren't taken by random opportunity, even if they look it. Plan to go out and take photos; look for events that might be good opportunities, take walks in interesting places, get out there on traditional party days, or days with unusual weather, or go to usual places at unusual times to get photos that other people have missed.

    Third, try something like a 365 challenge -- taking a photo every day for a year, either of yourself, or of anything at all. I've not done this -- although I've often taken photographs every day for days on end -- but I hear that even by the time you hit day 30, you're having to force yourself to come up with something imaginative. By day 365, you're either insane, or can come up with a half-decent idea for a photograph at pretty short notice :)

    Finally, when you've seen a good photo, think it through. Try it from different angles. Consider the background. Can you stand on something to get a different perspective? What does it look like from the ground? What happens if you get in close? Can you frame it with anything? Can you shoot the scene through some other object? Just keep thinking. Make whatever's caught your attention even more interesting.

    I'm a relatively new photographer myself. I've tried most of these techniques -- none of them are original ideas of mine, of course, they've come from a lot of different advice I've been given over the years -- and I'm definitely getting better at seeing a good photo opportunity, and sometimes even creating one from scratch.

  • Penny February 25, 2008 01:09 am

    I'm a freelance photojournalist and feature writer. One of my bread and butter assignments is to supply photos that tell the story of that week in the neighborhoods covered by a chain of local papers.

    If I do a very good job and pull together a series of shots that create a photo essay, my editors may give me a full page spread or a half page spread. This week, one paper put a small photo essay on the front page.

    Most of these pictures are taken as I wander through my life. I may be walking the dog or running an errand or out getting some exercise and I see something that fills the bill.

    Sometimes it's a beauty shot. A moment I want to freeze in time for myself and that I would love to share with my husband, a friend or a neighbor. If they were walking beside me I might say, "look, isn't that gorgeous!" Even if they are with me, I take the shot.

    Often it is something going on that will make folks in the neighborhood ask, "What is that all about?" So you have to think about your audience. Who will you talk to with the shot? What will they want to see? What would the editor tell me to do if he or she were standing here. I shoot first and then go and ask the questions that will create the caption or a full article.

    I would say that you need to slow down, look around and try to be very curious. Make yourself ask things like, "I wonder what those guys are doing?" "What's the story with that couple walking along?" "I wonder what that bench would look like if I took a photo of it every week for a while?" (one paper ran my photos of a park bench week after week last fall)

    Often you need to stop for a minute and wait. A photo of a statue in a park in a snow storm may become a salable shot if you wait until a person wrapped in layers of clothing, comes into the viewfinder.

    And, think of a story you can write with your camera. Think in terms of photo essays. What theme can I shoot today?

    Feel free to ask follow up questions. I have a selection of the photos I have sold on my site. Take a look at the 2007 album by scanning down in the right hand column. I haven't loaded much from this year.

    Also take a look at the work of the woman who inspired me. Allison Shaw began as the photographer for the Vineyard Gazette on Martha's vineyard. I've learned a lot looking at her work over the years.

  • Mark February 25, 2008 01:08 am

    I think it's just like anything else, we all have interest in different things. For me I'm more interested in taking photos of animals and weird signposts/brands etc, so when I'm in traffic, I will definitely have my mobile or mini digicam in the car somewhere. With my mobile phone its easy becuse it has a slider (sony ericsson k800i). I guess with nature photographers they just have to go to places or stand at any one spot until the right moment comes along. my advice: always have a camera with you, one with very quick reaction and loading time. and a very quick memory card. pays to invest in those memory stick hispeeds and sandisk extremes.

  • seanconnery February 25, 2008 01:01 am

    I started birdwatching a few years go and what I found out was that in order to see/notice birds I had to stop walking and watch - more importantly SEE. I then modified this to walking slowly - very slowly and found that not only did I notice birds, but I noticed a lot more things - flowers, branches, the way light affects form, textues, and on and on. I began to see the natural world around me in ways I never did simply because I slowed down.

    I then did the same as I walked around with my camera, in the woods, in the fields, downtown.

    I realized that in our world today we do things fast - eat fast, drive fast, sound bites, etc etc. Photography, birdwatching, eating, etc all benefit from slowing down long enough to notice, and then to see and then to understand the many things going on around us.

    If you see you will recognize opportunities for an image.

  • Alexandrog February 25, 2008 12:52 am

    Always keep in mind that it`s not about places you`ve missed, it`s about thoughts you`ve walked by, ideas and good photo. I usualy walk and take pictures of everything and then realize that it`s a good moment to press the shutter. This takes time and when you`ll be pro enough you will take less pictures and see more of the view.

  • Rick Julian February 25, 2008 12:39 am

    more often than not, photographers don't see great photo opps. instead they shoot lots of frames of interesting moments and great pictures emerge. that's been my personal experience and my observation having worked with several great photographers.