I am hoping to provide some insight for those of you who want to level up your photography and have come to realize that buying a new camera or lens won’t (by themselves) make that happen. You need to be deliberate in your photography.

An old-time, professional photographer once told me that we don’t get paid to take pictures. We get paid to see things that “normal” people do not.

I once led a photo workshop to the Green Mountains of Vermont. Our group was there to photograph fall color and we had a cornucopia of opportunity everywhere we looked.

If you look up the word Sepia, and do a little research, you may be surprised that the word is originally Greek for the common cuttlefish.

But that is indeed relevant to photography because sepia tone is NOT black and white images that were made 120 years ago and have faded, it started as a process. You are probably more familiar with gray scale (black and white) but there is also brown scale (sepia.)

It’s official. I am an “old-school” photographer. You might think because I am 100% digital I am not able to be an old-school photographer. But that’s where you’d go wrong.

You see, I am indeed old. Ask anyone. And learned photography well before many of you reading this were born. I learned how to be a photographer “back in the day.” So in my mind, I am an old-school photographer.

Learning how to see the final result before you press the shutter is maybe the most important step you can take to mastering photography.

It’s that moment where you grow as a photographer and no longer have to worry whether or not the picture “came out.” Your work becomes deliberate, rather than reactionary. You make pictures, you don’t just take pictures.