4 Tips for Developing Your Own Unique Photographic Intelligence

You have probably realized that it is not easy to create interesting and meaningful photos.

Perhaps you focus on technique. You read magazines, books, and blogs. You consult websites to master your hardware and software. That is great, but it is not enough to thrive. Your pictures will likely not gain much attention from other people.

I suggest you understand the concept of photographic intelligence to create different and impactful photos.

This article will help you understand how to implement a new tool in your photography toolbox. By implementing it, you will make your photos even more interesting and instill in them true meaning.

Landscape in black and white of Great Sand Dunes in Colorado in United States.
Landscape in black and white of Great Sand Dunes in Colorado in United States.

The Story Behind This Article

Several weeks ago, I discovered a novel that captivated me: "Einstein Enigma" by Jose Rodrigues de Santos. I did not come out unscathed from reading this book. Several of the chapters I even reread several times to understand the hidden meaning of the text.

In the days following this reading, I wondered what impact this might have on my work as a professional photographer. How could I use some of the concepts in the book to improve my work and make my photos even more interesting?

I returned to my journal. I detailed several avenues of research. All were inconclusive. I abandoned them.

Yet one of them caught my attention. I dug deeper into the subject. I ended up developing the idea that I needed to develop my photographic intelligence. The result was remarkably interesting in my case.

I decided to share with you an idea regarding the secret to creating interesting, meaningful, and photos with that "wow" factor. The secret is simple: it is necessary to develop a strong photographic intelligence well before the actual photo projects begin.

The Purpose of Your Photographic Activity

Before developing the idea, I had to improve my photographic approach, and it is important to clarify why we do photography.

You are certainly like me in many ways. The goal of your photographic activity is to create photos that have meaning, that translate your emotions and transmit messages to your audiences. You probably want to create photos that look like you.

The goal you want to achieve is to make photos that hold the attention of your audience.

With this concept of photo intelligence, you will have an additional tool that can help create interesting photos for your audience.

Now that I have established one of the premises of our photographic activity (you and me), I will explain why you cannot create photos like in the "good old days" anymore.

You Cannot Create Photos Like Before

I prefer to warn you against a behavior that has become obsolete. Looking at, analyzing, and judging other photographers' pictures is necessary, but it has become insufficient nowadays.

This behavior was still valid until the years 2005-2010. But since the advent of the digital society and social networks, everything has changed. For better and for worse. This change is inexorable. It will become even more pronounced in the coming years. This is a fact. Neither you nor I will be able to change the behavior of most human beings.

Personally, I am sure that if you just look at the photographs made by others and then reproduce them, you will not create interesting pictures. The pictures you show will have already been seen. You will only be copying the work of another.

Today, our society moves at lightning speed. Most of us do not look anymore: we just scan. This behavior is valid for screens, but also for paper. 95% of people scan without analyzing deeply. They do not even read anymore. Reading seems like just a method of deciphering letters and words with little reliance on critical thinking. Many people only take the time to read or look carefully when a detail catches their attention.

Another equally crucial factor is the concentration time is getting shorter and shorter. Remember this figure because it speaks for itself. The average "long concentration time" of a human being is now 8 seconds. You read that right. This is only an average, but when I read this figure in a paper on human concentration, I was very afraid. We have lost our persistence and willingness to be intentional with our time.

In trying to take a step back from my behavior, I realized that I was often acting in scanner mode. In the morning, for example, when I read three digital newspapers to which I subscribe, I scan the headlines without going any further. Since my realization, I have changed my behavior. I try to concentrate for several minutes by reading the articles in an analytical way.

If your audience scans photos they have already seen, they will not stop. They will not take the time to look at them, analyze them, or understand them. That is why you must surprise them. You must think about how to be different.

I hope that this analysis, even if it is brief, has convinced you. Now, I will share with you one of the new ways I use to create my photos.

Definition of Intelligence

This idea is called photographic intelligence.

Before continuing, it is important to define the word intelligence. I found two definitions of intelligence in the dictionary.

"The ability of a human being to adapt to a situation, to choose means of action according to the circumstances."

"A quality of someone who shows in a given field a concern to understand, to think, to know, and who easily adapts his behavior to these purposes."

In these two definitions, having intelligence allows a human being to adapt to a situation.

Application to Photography

To apply these definitions of intelligence to the world of photography, I simply said to myself that to create attention-grabbing photos, I had to adapt to my audience's behavior. I had to understand what they wanted and needed. I had to adapt to a new situation, which is the lack of concentration and the increasingly short attention span.

To create my photographs, I had to put in place principles and methods to develop my photographic intelligence.

It appeared to me that photographic intelligence has a meaning. The strange thing is that no one has ever considered this artistic and creative activity in this light.

I now define photographic intelligence as the qualities you develop to adapt the creation of your photos to the expectations of your audience.

However, it is a simple method that allows you to make deeply interesting photos.

Tip #1: Do Not Be Ashamed to Seek Out Intelligence for Yourself

I have notice that some words are increasingly being banned, such as artistic use of the words intelligence, intellectual, cultured, etc. For most people, these words have an elitist connotation. Many people do not dare use them when referring to themselves because they feel ashamed.

This is a mistake. Why feel ashamed of being different? Being different does not mean being superior to others or being part of an elite ring. Personally, I do not hesitate to call myself a photographic artist. It is a function. In no way is it a state that would place me above my fellow human beings.

An artist is just a person who uses creative techniques to interpret the world around them. An artist brings their passions and zeal for life and presents it to others in hopes that they can share in their emotions and feelings.

I suffered many attacks when I posted my status. At first, I was often hurt. With time and experience, I learned that the people who made these attacks did not know what they were talking about. On the other hand, they were jealous, because they could not justify this state. Why should we always be like the others. Why be average? For me, being average is not enough. I do everything to be different from others. I want to be myself.

The word intelligence has the same effect as the word artist.

Many people do not dare to use the word intelligence for themselves. This is a pity when you know the definition of this term.

You need to develop your photographic intelligence if you want to create meaningful and different photos. You must claim it, or you will not develop the tools you need to make photos that will please your audience.

Remember that you are not creating photos just for yourself. You are bringing satisfaction and pleasure to others. You need to equip yourself with the necessary tools to achieve this goal.

Tip #2: Develop Your Photographic Awareness

If you want to develop your photographic intelligence, you must first develop photographic awareness.

Your photographic awareness allows you to situate yourself in relation to other photographers.

It allows you to develop your photographic personality, your signature, and your photographic approach.

Tip #3: Define Your Photographic Identity

Another essential element for your photographic intelligence is your photographic identity.

It will give you an existence in photography. It allows you to be unique and to assert your artistic individuality.

Tip #4: Get Out of Your Photographic Comfort Zone

I am the first to cower in my photographic comfort zone. My job as a professional photographer is stressful and difficult. I must produce new fine art photos all the time, search for new clients, create advertising campaigns, manage my company, etc. In short, when I can take a break, I do not hesitate. But it is not always a desirable choice. We are all the same. We are lazy. That is the nature of being human.

Your photographic comfort zone can be compared to a cocoon in which you live sheltered from the real world. You are comfortable there because you know where you are going.

Symptoms that show what you are in your photographic comfort zone are as follows:

  • Everything is planned, quiet. No event can disrupt the order of things.
  • As soon as you are in your comfort zone, you feel at ease.
  • You can maintain control over your actions and your emotions. You do not feel any stress or anxiety.

Living in your photographic comfort zone means living in a neutral position where all ideas are shaped by others. A person who lives in their comfort zone is content to follow.

In today's world, feeling strong emotions and living in one's comfort zone is done by reading trendy magazines, listening to the radio, watching television, getting information from the mass media which all broadcast the same information, because it comes from the same source.

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To live in your comfort zone is to live your daily life in a world of illusions where the real world has no purpose or meaning.

If you want to write your photographs in an interesting, original way with strong emotions and high impact messages, you need to step out of your comfort zone and rub shoulders with the reality of the real world. This is what makes you different.

Actions You Can Take to Develop Photographic Intelligence

After the different points I have just explained, you are probably asking what actions you can take to develop your photographic intelligence.

The key word is adaptation. Be imaginative. Be different from others. Challenge yourself through your actions and decisions.

I would advise you to develop the following points:

  • Study photographic writing to better tell your photographic stories.
  • Learn to understand photographic semiology to know the factors that make a photo fascinating.
  • Study the world around you, attempt to understand how people see your photos.
  • Dare to explore new creative avenues. Do not copy.

Above all, do not forget that the world has changed. We do not create pictures like we did 20 years ago. The society of men circles around faster and faster. Few people take the time to seek out excellence. Show that you are different and interesting to generate interest in your audience.

Be humble, patient, constant, persevering, and persistent because the road to excellence is long.

 

I Want to Help You to Create Interesting Photos