Finding your photography vision isn’t just about improving your technical skills; it’s about finding your sense of why you’re taking the photo. On a photography course with the eminent Carla Coulson, Mrs Romance shares the vision she’s discovered that’s taking her photography to the next level.
Brought to you by Olympus.
“Don’t show them how it looks, show them how it feels.”
This quote has been in my mind the whole time I’ve spent with at the incredible “Visionary” workshop with Carla Coulson in Puglia in the heel of Italy.
Every photographer has their own unique vision. I spent six days exploring Puglia with a small group of fellow photographers; each day we went to the same locations but nobody took the same photos. Even if we were standing next to each other, looking at the same scene, there was something different and unique in everyone’s eye.
Even if you don’t think you’re creative, I’m telling you that you are.
Your story and your past will help you tell the stories that you see in front of you now. Your eye will be drawn into something different and that’s your unique photography vision.
Finding your photography vision
I can’t remember how I first come across Carla Coulson’s photography, but we bonded through our blogs and connected through social media. And after meeting her person, I knew that her photos share the true heart that she puts online as well.
When I saw that she was running a photography workshop in one of my all-time favourite countries, Italy, I really really wanted to go. It took a push from my friends Carly and Kate, and support from Jim for me to say yes.
Yes, to spending time on my creativity, yes to investing in my photography, and yes to opening up to new experiences and challenging myself.
The week in Puglia was everything I’d hoped for and more. I met the most beautiful group of people and was inspired every day. I learned things about myself and I’ve made new friends.
I know I’ll treasure this time and I want to share some of my insights on how you can find your photography vision too.
I’ve tried to capture it in this video below, but it’s so hard to encapsulate the feeling.
Finding your values, finding your photography vision
One of my biggest personal values is freedom. It’s why I do the job I do here with the blog at Mr & Mrs Romance and I chose a life where freedom is so important for me. I felt that this week of photography training was actually giving me permission to be free with my work.
I love that Carla wasn’t prescriptive about how to take a perfect photo. There is no one way to shoot and it’s about finding your unique photography vision and style, and capturing the story that you want to tell.
That story could involve your feelings, the values that you have; do you see beauty? Do you see joy, suffering, family, love? Any emotion can be captured in your vision and allow you to tell a real story through your photographs.
”Details in photos are like clues”
With my Olympus OMD EM 5 Mark II Camera in hand, I set out to explore every day. I was up early shooting at first light and also experimenting at night with movement and slow shutter speeds.
As Carla says: “details in photos are like clues – a piece of the puzzle to inform better story telling. We can search for the ‘right’ words using different photographic techniques.”
Over the week we learned some techniques and all the photography rules and then how to break them. As Carla explains: “photography is a personal vision. It’s an individual way of looking at the world and capturing a photo that tells a story”.
Vision is what allows you to recognise a photographer’s work from a single photo and finding your personal vision takes time. I feel I’m just at the start of my journey but I know that my vision is about freedom, conversations and being near the water. These are the times I felt most alive when I was behind the camera.
It’s important when you’re developing your vision to absorb as many inspirations as you can. And then to let your true inspirations come out as well.
Where does inspiration come from?
During the course, I found myself as inspired by my classmates as I was by the teachers. My classmates were such an incredible group of women to be surrounded by.
We inspired each other with our different individual stories. It released our own personal vision, which really allowed ourselves to be free and capture what we saw.
I know we’ve taken a little piece of Carla’s heart that she shared with us, and put our own heart out into the world as well. This might all sound a little “woowoo” because photography should be technical, right? But there’s so much more to it.
But when you’re shooting with a great camera (I love the Olympus cameras – even on auto) your vision is what you’re choosing to capture. And then when you’re ready, you can switch your camera to full manual mode and put your own stamp on your pictures.
Let your style develop while you’re finding your photography vision
It’s interesting to see how my style developed during the week from being quite passive and just observing architectural details to really getting in close and telling my own story with the locals.
I can’t wait to bring these techniques and tips home to Sydney and get more involved with the stories around me. I’m excited to see how my vision continues to develop.
Thank you Olympus for being by my side on this journey, and thank you Carla for your generosity, knowledge and passion. Special shout out to Loc Boyle, an incredible Australian photographer working with Carla, who also helped me take some photos for Hair Romance like one of my favourite photos below.
How you can find your photography vision
Now my travels are continuing with Jim, who’s said he’s noticed some differences with how I take photos now. Even after just a week I’m changing my eye to find a new angle and getting closer to tell the story.
This course has also helped me find my patience. Instead of just taking the shot without thinking, I’ve learnt to wait for that extra moment that changes a photo from a single image into a whole story.
I’m also pulling back from just shooting the details, and capturing the whole scene so that we can take you along with our travels and really show you how it feels, not just how it looks.
We’ve got a lot more posts lined up from Italy; I hope you enjoy following along with our stories and sharing our vision. And if you want some more tips on advancing your travel photography skills, here’s our post on taking your travel photography to the next level.
I thought the secret to finding it would require travel and for me it does. But you can also find your vision by travelling in your hometown or from your desktop.
For more photography inspiration, follow Olympus’s #OlympusInspired hashtag across social media, where you can see people discovering their own photography vision.