I talk to myself. Do you?

I talk to myself. Do you?

Photo by Ramy Salem

I talk to myself.
There – I’ve said it. I know, you think I’m nuts. That’s not new news–but that’s a whole other topic.
The fact is, I talk to myself. Whenever I put the camera to my face, I talk to myself. Sometimes audibly, all the time in my head. I ask myself what am I shooting? Where is the picture? Where’s the story? What’s the story? Is this the best angle? And so many other questions. Maybe some photographers look at a scene and can view it through the lens of their mind. I can’t. I need to have the camera to my face. I need to look through the camera and view it through the lens that’s on it. I can get a guesstimate without putting it to my face. In fact, that’s how I choose what lens to put on the camera, by experience. I know pretty close what it will look like with a 17 mm lens or 200 mm lens. I know the amount of distortion an object will have with a 17 mm and I know from experience if that’s what I want or not to help tell the story. I know the compression I get with the 200 mm lens and whether or not that will help tell the story. But there are so many other questions left unanswered. So I raise the camera and lens to my face and I talk to myself while I frame the subject.

Do you talk to yourself? Is that something that you do to help you take your photos? If it’s not, it probably should be. You should be asking yourself all kinds of questions when you look through the lens of your camera. Not just about what you see, but what you don’t see. Is this the best angle? Is there anything distracting behind the subject? Maybe I should move three steps to the left. Is that bit of sky going to be too bright behind my subject? Is there a pole running through someone’s head? Is there a horizon line or horizontal line of any kind going through my subject head? These are all important things to be asking. You don’t find the answers without asking the questions.

We’re talking about being observant with purpose. Asking yourself specific questions to help develop your eye. Get into the habit and I promise you’ll have better images and you’ll tell a better story.

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About The Author

Matt Brandon

Matt is a Malaysia based humanitarian and travel photographer. Well known as a photographer and international workshop instructor, Matt’s images have been used by business and organizations around the globe. Matt also on the design board for Think Tank Photo, a camera bag manufacturer. In 2013 Matt founded the On Field Media Project to train the staff of non-profits to use appropriate technology to produce timely as well as quality images.


  1. Jeffrey Chapman

    Not only do I talk to myself, but sometimes I even swear at myself!

  2. Ed

    I second Jeffrey. I always been a great conversationalist with myself, whatever I'm doing. It definitely helps me. Sometimes it doesn't translate in the presence of other people though.

  3. ipad developers

    Thanks, I liked your article very much, it`s so emotional and sincere! I`m not a photographer, but just as everyone, sometimes I enjoy taking pictures of people and objects. I don`t talk to myself while taking photos, though I often talk to myself while doing something else, especially when I want to concentrate. I agree that it helps a lot to find the best way of doing anything.

  4. Tod

    Good post, Matt! I don't usually talk out loud while shooting, but as I am shooting I am always thinking about things like composition, light, which lens or lenses would best serve the story I am trying to tell, etc.

  5. Ray Ketcham

    At times I even listen to myself although not often enough

  6. heimana

    Yep, I DO talk to myself when shooting -and other activities too like climbing, and yes sometimes loud… It never seemed to me a foolish thing to do, as you say it helps concentrate and stay focused. Good post Matt, thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. Maureen Murphy

    When I say something out loud – I have just doubled my chances of remembering it

  8. David duChemin

    I've been known to have complete conversations with myself. I mutter, I cuss, I ask myself questions…my process is very verbal. Unless others are around, but I do my best work by myself anyways. Like my writing process – I don't think of something THEN write it down, I write in order to think. The writing is the process. So it is when I am out photographing – I talk to myself as I shoot in order to process, and I shoot many frames in order to do the same. Who cares if people think you're crazy – would rather people be impressed by my images than by my dubious sanity 🙂

  9. Danial Shah

    True. The camera can only tell me how this subject looks like. Its good to observe and best to frame it via view finder..


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