16 June 2011

On Picture-Taking

I enjoy taking pictures. The other day, a stranger asked if I was a photographer when he saw me crouched down on the pavement with my Nikon pointed up to the sky. I laughed and said, "no, just an enthusiastic picture-taker."

It got me thinking, though. I don't believe someone can just call themselves a photographer. Like any other profession, photography takes practice and dedication in order to develop and hone skill.  Every day I learn something new about the process.  Photography is energy and movement, passion and light. It is capturing a moment forever. It is sharing and seeing and doing and being.

I don't think photography is about perfection. It is about life. Mistakes. Honesty. Story-telling. None of that is perfect. That's why I'm not a huge fan of photoshop or other intensive photo-editing programs. Most of the photos you see on this blog are untouched. Occasionally, I'll employ minimal cropping or slight white balance adjustment, but usually, what you see is what I saw. I'm not perfect and I don't want my photos to look that way. Maybe this stems from the fact that I'm not a photographer. Who knows.

I'm not trying to condemn those that do utilize heavy editing. I get it, I do. Photographers are paid to take pictures (and damn good ones at that). I have great respect for them. I certainly want to improve my picture-taking and knowledge of photography, but for me, this means getting out and exploring with my camera and my senses. It means taking the time to see things.

Picture-taking is about feeling. It is about transmitting the mood of a rainy day. Celebrating the taste of that first sip of early morning coffee. Admiring the color spectrum in a row of flowers at the corner market. It is about looking.

It doesn't matter if you have a DSLR, a camera phone or a $10 disposable. Take photos. Share them.

Notice things.

(All photos in this post were taken using Instagram for iPhone: a fun and easy way to capture everyday moments and connect with others. You can follow my instagram feed here. Also, I often tweet these photos. You can follow me on Twitter in order to see them in real time).


  1. Here here. I appreciate your photos - so keep them coming please!

    Also, that bunting is adorbs!

  2. I love your photography.

    All I know about photography is this: I am NOT a photographer. I don't even have the yen to learn even though my crappy pictures are frustrating.

    But I SO appreciate beautiful pictures! And I love yours!


  3. btw LOVE the bensimons. My favorite shoes to wear!

  4. I love the photos you share with us, Kayla. They evoke lots of happy feelings in me, with practically every post!

    I am always looking for something to take a photo of. That's one of the real benefits I've got from blogging. My eyes are more open now to everything around me...

  5. i think this is precisely why you ARE a photographer - you get it. you understand what it's all about and can feel it, even if you don't get paid to do it or are still learning skills. i mean, is any art ever finished or totally accomplished? it's always a process, even when the artist releases it off into the world, it's constantly creating new meaning depending on who is viewing it. we are constantly growing, changing, never finished, and in that way we {and everything we do} can be a form of art. i think what you described here, and how you interact with your picture-taking, makes you more of a photographer than some of the people who have that title after their name.

  6. You are totally a photographer. You do so good! BTW I love your yellow shoes ;)

    - Sarah


  7. I love this post. I am awful at taking photos because I don't think to pull out my camera-I know our parents and our future children would love it if I started!

  8. totally agree, good photography is hard!

  9. so true! I went to school for photography and I still don't really call myself a photographer. I take photos because I love to and sharing them brings a great energy. Keep it up!

  10. I thought a lot of these looked familiar. ; )

    This post has got me thinking a lot about photography, my photography in particular. I've had a couple mean comments towards my photography skills in the past and, for some reason, because of that now I don't take it too seriously if someone tells me they love my photography and that I should do it for a profession.

    Another thought.. what exactly makes a photographer? Does someone really need to be paid to be a photographer? Share their photos? No & no, so what is it then?

    I usually do my best to make my photos look as much like what I saw, too, often times photoshop included as photos rarely come out looking like the real thing.

    Ah.. so much to think about. Thanks, Kayla! I don't really know.. blogs are so photo heavy and often times I find that the photos don't reflect the heart and soul of others, but are they still photographers? There's so much more I want to write, but I'll stop for now and leave the rest to mull over in my head, ha!

  11. Thank you for your thoughtful contributions to the discussion, everyone! I appreciate it.

    @Eva, I may do another post articulating similar sentiments to those you raised. P.S. Your photos are amazing...it makes me sad that people are so outwardly critical.

  12. I LOVE this post. It took me a really long time to call myself a photographer. And even now, after it being my job for over 5 years, sometimes it still sounds funny coming out of my mouth.
    But this inspiration you have to pick up your phone or camera and capture something (without all the technical elements that pop into my head) is something you should cherish. I love your instagram photos and your enthusiasm and passion for photography. That kind of inspiration is something I have to work to maintain, and is surely enviable.
    and you can call yourself whatever you want :)

  13. Thanks for stopping by my blog Kayla! I just had a small peek at your blog and it's right up my alley of reads. I love it...my afternoon read for sure. =)


Your thoughts always bring a smile to my face. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave them.