One of the great things about teaching photo workshops is the collective vision of the group. What is this you say? I am constantly amazed when you have 10 people standing side by side photographing the same scene, and yet you get 10 different photographs. Everyone’s vision is different. And a huge value in the workshop experience is seeing how others photograph the same scene, and being inspired to try different approaches in your own photography.
So we are all photographing the same scene? Not really. You photograph how you see, not what you see. Your vision is a stamp on your creativity, technical expertise and personal view of the world. Take a look at this photograph. A nice fly fishing shot in Alaska done for a clothing brand. This was what I was presented with. But I saw another shot.
This is what I saw. The tall green grass on the shore made a great foreground to photograph through, adding a softer feel to the image. Both images worked well for the assignment. The first shot satisfied what the client had in mind. The second shot is what I saw, and they also liked this perspective a lot.
Here is kayaking image shot on an editorial assignment in Honduras. I loved this view from above to accentuate the clear tropical waters. But I saw a different photo as I took this one. With the incredible water clarity, I envisioned an image underwater shooting up at the kayaker.
Here is that shot. I like both of these kayaking images. Remember, when you are presented with a familiar scene or iconic shot, your vision, not the scene, is what you are really photographing. Think of it as a challenge. Add your creative spin and show the world how you interpret it, and don’t worry about how other photographers capture the scene.