Eye for detail | Photography Tips

Have you ever looked at something you wanted to take a picture of, and when you did, you were disappointed in the result? I might have a solution.

Next time, before switching on your camera and taking a picture, do something like this.


Place what you want to take a picture of in ‘frame’. Close your one eye and look closely and what you want to capture.

Let’s put it into action.

2020-06-17 03.22.34 2.jpg

My main focus for this photo was the sunrays peeking between the mountain tops. That means I had to lower the exposure (a fast shutter speed), in order to emphasise the sunrays.

Thus, as you can see in the bottom right, the mountain is dark with not much detail, don’t worry, it was by design because it’s not the main focus of the photo. It’s all about the sunrays.

Tip: If you want a higher dynamic range (that means you can get the details of the clouds/sky and the landscape), set your picture-control/picture-style to portrait. This way you will get a flatter image. Meaning the contrast will be much lower, and that means you will get just a little bit more detail.

Processed with VSCO with g6 preset

I’ve always wanted to take photos of snow. When I saw it on the mountains I got very excited.  Unfortunately, the snow was a bit far away, but I knew exactly what I wanted my photo to look like.

I had to wait a few hours for the light to be perfect. I wanted strong shadows to create a beautiful contrast. In this photo, the main focus is the snow in the bright light and the shadows on the mountain. Thus creating a satisfying contrast.

Annotation 2020-06-27 095209

Once again. When I saw this fern I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like. Emphasising the fern but most importantly, the highlights(the brightest areas) of the fern.

After I made my edits it looked like this.

Annotation 2020-06-27 095240

How do you develop this eye for detail?

By looking deeper. “Look beyond what you see.” Stare at the thing you want to photograph. Take your time. Don’t rush it.

What do you notice? Any specific colours? Textures? How the light falls on the object/subject? Leading lines?

This process helps you slow down and decide on what makes this thing you want to capture so special and beautiful. It helps you to pay very close attention to what you are seeing.

You’re taking a moment and gazing at what you want to capture without the distraction of the camera or the urgency to take a picture. You have time to think.

What do you want to focus on, and what don’t you want to focus on? Two very important things to keep in mind.

This is called creating your image or visualisation.

That is why I love film photography. You can only take a handful of photos. You need to make each one count. That means paying close attention to what you want to photograph.

Looking and looking and looking.

What stands out? What story do you want to tell? You analyse it over and over again to ensure the frame is right and then adjust the settings accordingly.

A big part of recreating what you saw is in the editing process. I’d recommend starting out with VSCO. I find it to be an incredible app to edit photos. Play around as much as possible with every setting. (All these photos were edited in VSCO.) 

With time when you go out and take photos, you’ll be ‘editing’ them in your head as you see them in front of you.

Confused by some photography terminology? Here’s a list of photography jargon.

If you found this helpful, here are 5 photography tips for beginners.

Thinking about which camera you should buy to begin photography?


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