Harness the power of picture templates

We all carry around in our heads a set of photo templates (pre-visualisations) that are the subjects and compositions we use to take pictures. These templates form the backbone of our photography. It is important to recognise that they exist and how they potentially limit your creative expression.


“You only take the pictures styles you have already taken”


When you do a review of your existing body of work, I am sure you will recognise themes and patterns in the way you see and communicate. You will probably recognise your choices of subject matter, framing, lighting and composition.

Embedding Skills Exercise

A good exercise here is to take (say) 50 of your finished images or prints and characterise them into subject, theme, compositional element, use of colour, pattern line, etc.  Once done: summarise your results.  

Below are some examples of picture templates to get you started.

Slow Shutter Speed
Limited Depth of Field
Examples of Picture Templates

Mouse over or click on the pictures to see the Template description

Light against dark
Poor weather conditions
Wide-angle lens

As an example, to make an assessment I did a review of the 50 pictures shown in The ABC of CameraWork Manual. For further reference about the review process look at page 104, section A5.4 of the ABC Manual.


Andy’s Preferred Picture Templates
1 Wide-angle lensTelephoto lens
2 Limited Depth of field (DoF)Extended Depth of field
3 Light subject dark background Dark subject light background
4 Side lighting Frontal lighting
5 Left hand diagonal leading lineRight hand diagonal

Once you have done your review, then it will be time to think about what you can do to harness the power of new picture templates. 

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