Are You Taking Or Are You Making?

by | Photography Quotes, Photography Inspiration | 2 comments

ansel adams quote, photography quote, Copyright Karin van Mierlo at Photography Playground. Photo: Florence, Italy

Ansel Adams Quote

So, a funny thing happens every time I write about photography which is like on a daily basis. I make it a point to write Make Photographs and not Take Photographs because well, that’s what it actually is. A photo is made.

But the spelling checker on my laptop keeps highlighting the word Make wanting me to correct it to Take. It annoys me because it’s wrong on so many levels and I always ignore the suggestion.

Apparently, in the English language, it is ingrained that we Take a Photograph and not Make it. 

That’s why this month’s quote is the famous Ansel Adams Quote because, as always, he had it right. 

“You Don’t Take A Photograph, You Make It.”

-Ansel Adams

Who was Ansel Adams?

Ansel Adams was a landscape photographer famous for his majestic images of the American West. He lived from 1902 till 1984. Adams developed the Zone system, an elaborate system to expose black and white negatives for the widest tonal range in his landscape photography.

This is the second Ansel Adams Quote I’m discussing. You can find the first one here: Do You Think We See The Same?

ansel adams quote, photography quotes, photo quote | Photo: Florence, Italy © Karin van Mierlo, Photography Playground

Change from Taking to Making

Photography is and should always be a creative act. That is if you want a little more then a simple registration of an occurrence. Since you’re on this page I’m going to assume that that’s what you want for your photographs. You want them to be more than a form of registring the events of your life.

To me, my camera is my ally in transforming what I see and feel into compelling and strong images. There’s no better feeling than seeing my photographs reflect what I wanted to capture. And I could never do that by Taking Photos. 

When you change from Taking to Making you transform the way you Make photos. 

Taking a Photo is unintentional, it’s thoughtless and careless. 

Making a Photo is the exact opposite. It’s intentional, deliberate and full of attention and awareness. 

Taking Photos is snapping away without any consideration for what you’re actually photographing. 

Making Photos is being fully present in the moment. Asking yourself what you see and how it makes you feel. And only after that thought process trying to convey that in a photograph. 

Composition plays a big part in conveying what you see and how it makes you feel. Click here if you wanna read more about the essential principles of composition in photography

ansel adams quote, photography quotes, photo quote | Photo: Sardinia, Italy © Karin van Mierlo, Photography Playground

Be Ready To Receive It

That’s one level. The creation part of making photographs. But there’s another level to this quote that I feel is just as important. 

I’ve always felt I do not Take a Photo, it is given to me. 

Of course, I work hard to make the photo I’m striving for. I decide on my settings, my point of view, the moment I press the shutter and how I interact with what I’m photographing. Let’s say all the things I have a certain level of control over. 

And then there is whatever is happening in front of me. These are the things I have no control over whatsoever. I can only observe and anticipate. Open myself up for the magic of the moment and be ready for what’s coming next. 

To me, photography is a dance between control and letting go. A wonderful dance. It is during this dance I feel a photo is given to me. Thr photographer’s biggest job is to be ready to receive it. And when I am it’s the best feeling in the world. 

Delete the Word!

So let’s delete the word Taking Photographs out of our vocabulary. 

You know what? Words matter! From this moment on say, ‘I’m gonna Make some pictures’ and I’m sure your intentions will change. Try it! You might surprise yourself.

If you wanna go deeper into Making Photographs I’m hosting a series of free online photography workshops that will change the way you Make photographs forever. You can join us at 5 Elements in Photography Workshops.

Are you Taking or are you Making? Tell me in the comments!

You can find more information on Ansel Adams here anseladams.com

Join our Instagram family @photography_playground

Hi, I’m Karin

I believe the world needs more authentic and open-hearted photographers. Intentional photographers who want to be inspired by love, generosity, and imagination.

It’s my mission to help you by opening up the world of authentic photography for you. So you get clarity on what truly matters in photography.

That’s why, at Photography Playground you learn to photograph life as it FEELS like, not as it looks like. 

Recent Posts

How To Watermark Your Photos in Lightroom – The Ultimate Guide

How To Watermark Your Photos in Lightroom – The Ultimate Guide

Support Photography Playground by using the links in this article to order your custom-made signature at Signed Pro. As an affiliate, we receive a small commission on qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you so we can continue to create awesome free content. Thank...

8 Great Flat Lay Photography Tips For New Photographers

8 Great Flat Lay Photography Tips For New Photographers

Photo by George Milton Flat Lay Photography Tips Flat lay photography has gone so popular on social media posts. It’s widely used for so many purposes, such as food photography or any kind of product photography. Its usage and significance are also increasing...

How to Choose the Right Niche for Stock Photography

How to Choose the Right Niche for Stock Photography

Niche for Stock Photography Many photographers firmly believe that setting up their stock photography portfolio doesn’t require a lot of resources, time, or effort. While they aren’t entirely wrong, it’s not that simple. Setting up your stock photography...

Photography Courses

free photography training | Travel Photography Playbook | Copyright Karin van Mierlo | Photography Playground
learn photography online, learn smartphone photography
free photography training | Travel Photography Playbook | Copyright Karin van Mierlo | Photography Playground

Free ebooks

Support Photography Playground by using the links on the website to shop. As an affiliate, we receive a small commission on qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you so we can continue to create awesome free content. Thank you!

Your Photos, In Print

Related Articles

4 Ways to Creatively Embrace the Blur in Photography

4 Ways to Creatively Embrace the Blur in Photography

Guest blogger Stacey Hill encourages you to embrace the blur in photography. When asked why I enjoy photography, my reply is always “It’s the perfect blend of technology and art.” For those who want to geek out about focal lengths, f-stops, and the other technical aspects, photography has plenty of space for that.  However, if you want to explore more creative ways to use your camera, then there are lots of ways to do that.

10 Reasons Why Photography is Beneficial for Mental Health

10 Reasons Why Photography is Beneficial for Mental Health

Mental Health Benefits of Photography According to a study by QJM International Journal of Medicine, mental health problems escalated during this pandemic due to the generalized fear and relentless anxiety over the COVID-19 spread. The media is considered as...

5 Simple Mindful Photography Tips to Connect You to the Now

5 Simple Mindful Photography Tips to Connect You to the Now

Mindfulness is about slowing down, being fully present in the moment, and receiving that moment. The exact same words apply to the process of making photographs. For me, to photograph is to be fully present in the moment. Because when I photograph nothing else enters my mind. I’m in a state of flow where worries, the past, and the future have disappeared.

2 Comments

  1. Richard Venneman

    I find myself taking photos…trying to get in as many as I can. Then when I read or see something on composition I find myself thinking more about that than what I am seeing. I’m a mess. ?

    Reply
    • Karin van Mierlo

      Haha, sounds like you’re all over the place. Did you join the workshops series I’m hosting? It starts tomorrow!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.