Photography, like any art, is a two-pronged skill and, for a photographer, both aspects are essential. There is the technical side of understanding and becoming comfortable using your tools (in this case, your camera, lenses, lights, etc.). Then, there is the “eye” side of learning to see the world artistically and photographically (or, learning composition). Really, with the ubiquitouness of photo-editing software, it could be argued that composition is even more necessary–but that is a different conversation! :)
The question, then, is, can an “eye” be developed, in the same way the technical skills can be? There are (as my photo students know) rules to learn, understand, and follow (then break!), but the best way to learn to see photographically is to practice. While you are learning, though, it can be hard to separate the “seeing” from the f-stops and shutter speeds, and it can be disheartening for your pictures not to reflect the loveliness you desire to capture.
Then, while I was researching ways to help my students learn these things, I came across several articles online about using an old 35mm slide mount to practice composition. Luckily, I have a couple boxes of these that got passed to me as different people got rid of old photo equipment. So, I popped a little hole in the top of a few, slipped through a jump ring and it onto a necklace and voila! Take-anywhere pieces of seeing-tool jewelery for my students. Sometimes it is nice to be able to practice photography skills without having to worry about nailing the exposure and while just being in the moment. (Of course, if you don’t have an old slide mount, you can always do the old “framing the shot with your fingers” trick!)
Do you have festive plans for New Years Eve? I’m looking forward to wearing a sparkly dress, some high heels and kissing a pretty handsome guy at midnight. I hope you have a glimmering, bubbly weekend!