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.

I know what you are thinking. How can I work on my photography without a camera? Well eventually you will indeed need one. But these are all things you can do with just your mind. Give it a try.

(I should note that these habits have worked for me and countless people whom I have taught over the years. If you open your mind, I am sure at least some of them will work for you too.)

I love making photographs. I try to make a picture (at least one) every day and for the most part, except for some instances when I was in the hospital or otherwise just unable, I have made a photograph every day since 1973. And no matter how good I become at photography, I have realized I cannot and will not ever really master it. And that is the truth. So I am very fulfilled by photography, but it also kicks my ass sometimes. That’s just the way it goes.

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.