How To Develop Your Photographer’s Eye | Part 3

In Part 1 we discussed telling a visual story. In Part 2 we explored interesting composition.

In Part 3 we have to talk a bit about equipment. Specifically the lens you choose and why it matters.

The MM | Angle of View Changes The Story You Tell

Your lens choice determines your angle of view (how much or how little you can have in your frame.) It’s an important consideration to get the composition you want.

There are three main choices:

  • Wide Angle – Less than 40mm
  • Normal – 40 to 50mm
  • Telephoto – Greater than 50mm

The smaller your focal length (the mm), the more you will capture in your frame and the less it will be magnified.

Go with a longer focal length, the less you will capture in your frame and the more it will be magnified.

So…three photos all standing in the same spot in my March garden (For the record, it’s not as pretty as my July garden.)


Knowing what you are going to photograph can help you make a lens choice for the best composition. When I step out the door with my camera I always have a quick conversation with myself about lens choice.

  • Big picture or details? (wide versus normal)
  • Subject at a distance or close to me? (telephoto versus normal)
  • Lots of extra bits and pieces or clean, clear backgrounds? (telephoto versus wide angle)

Explore even more about lenses.

The f# | Depth of Field Defines Your Story

Depth of field defines how much within the image is in focus, and when used well it’s a powerful tool to direct the attention and push/pull the eye within the image. David Duchemin, Photographically Speaking.

How much or how little is in focus in your frame is determined by your aperture.  With a shallow depth of field, the background details disappear, telling the singular story of the subject.

Notice how the depth of field changes the story as I moved from a narrow aperture to a wide aperture.

f/16

f/8

f/4.5

f/1.4

Explore even more about depth of field.

Developing your photographer’s eye is about choices. It’s about knowing what to include in your frame and what to exclude. It’s about knowing what visual story you want others to take away from the photo. It’s about knowing how to achieve that visual story with the equipment you have.

Developing your photographer’s eye is about capturing the beauty YOU see in your daily life.