How to Use Intuition in Photography

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It is most likely an open door to say that intuition is the heart of photography, but it’s sometimes good to have a reminder.

Where the ones are who easily enjoy intuition and photographic heights there are also the others who get lost in technical details. Not that the technical side of photography does not involve intuition, but it is mostly the arty part that requires it for compositions with light.

Photography courses pay attention to composition and working with light, explaining the rule of thirds, but might not explicitly mention the important role of intuition in this process or just assume that photographers are using it anyway, which is partly true. So, how can a photographer consciously utilize intuition to create great images? Very simple, by following the light. The light does not only determine the camera settings it also creates the compositions. And if you struggle seeing compositions just look out for the light, what it’s pointing out for you and right there it is, the composition you were looking for.

One might think, but this is just looking for the light and got nothing to do with intuition, but this is not quite true. Intuitively we are looking for the light and it goes wrong with our images when we try to ignore what the intuition is telling us. Imagine you are out in the bush on photo safari. It is about 9 am and the best light is already gone. Now the light is bright and harsh. You remember what you learned and you try to photograph with the light, but your images look dull. Suddenly you have the feeling to turn around and photograph into the light and yes, there are still contrasts and your images look much better. So, most likely not consciously you followed a feeling triggered by the light and you got it working. And this is just one small example how intuition can make a day photographing in the bush a great one.

Inspired? Try it and enjoy snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for