I really liked this article by Barry J. Brady on how to make stronger photos using visual design. I always think that photographers that come from a strong graphic design background have a bit of a leg up with regards to balance, composition and color theory. One thing I’ve been pushing myself to do here lately is take more pictures with elements that are designed or arranged intentionally. You start to reach that point where taking a picture of someone in front of something pretty or grimey or interesting just isn’t enough. It seems like a natural step in a photographer’s evolution to do all of those things, but eventually you grow past it, and start saying things like “In a perfect world, what would the background for this picture be?” and then you go and create it.
A lot of it comes back around to creating something unique. If I have someone stand in front of a brick wall at sunset and take a great picture of them, what makes that different from the time you had someone stand in front of a a brick wall at sunset? How can my pictures be different? All it takes to be a photographer is to own and sometimes use a camera. That’s easy to achieve. But to be a unique photographer? To do something that is actually different and special? That’s really difficult. Visual Design is one way to get there.