Thursday read – “Chasing the look” by David DuChemin

“Chasing the look. 10 Ways To Improve The Aesthetics of Your Photographs” was a forth e-book by David DuChemin, after “Ten”, “Ten more” and “Drawing the Eye”. They were all written before Craft & Vision company existed as we know it know. Yet those e-books set the Craft & Vision standard. They are short (about 50 pages), but loaded with great tips oriented on a single topic, going deeper into photographic craft rather then gear. Although there is one exception in this e-book, so keep reading.

“Chasing the look” is another list of 10. Rather then 10 items, it is an e-book of ten lessons, each one focused on a single element of photographic process which contributes to the “wow” factor in the final image. It is almost like a mental checklist you should go through from the moment you notice the subject and raise the camera to your eyes and the moment you make the click. Each item on the list is a mindful decision you need to make- by choosing aperture, shutter speed, focal length but also point of view or the right moment to take a photograph, referred to in the e-book as photographs with “a gesture”. This is one of the most difficult concepts in composition to define and understand, yet is makes world of the difference in the final images.

The most surprising item on this “mental list” for me was the white balance. After all, we most often set it to either the correct one for conditions- like sunny setting for a sunny day, or heavily rely on the automatic settings on more advanced cameras. For example, my Nikon D300 is quite good in guessing the correct setting for the proper white balance in the scene in front of me. Yet, sometimes warming an image or cooling down the tones will help to accent the atmosphere of the scene and turn it into better image. Example of white balance helps understand the difference between technically correct image and the artistically sound, which is not so clear cut with exposure.

As I mentioned, one item in “Chasing the look” is an exception to “not buying more gear”, Craft & Vision motto. David DuChemin seems to be partial to photographic filters and considers them an important artistic tool. Although most of traditional film photography filters can be replaced in post- like warming or graduated filters, you cannot mimic the effect of for example polarizing filter in Photoshop. The same is with Gold-n-Blue filter from Singh-Ray, which creates very characteristic color casts, and seems to be David’s favorite.

“Chasing the look” contains not only the description of the role of each item in the photographic process. There is also a number of creative exercises. The idea behind them is to make you go out and train, to get you so familiar with your camera settings and other items on the “photographic checklist” that they become the second nature. Only then it will not slow you down while shooting, and allow you not to miss the moment and create amazing images.

You can buy “Chasing the look” by itself for $5 by clicking here, or in a bundle with “Drawing the eye” for $8 by clicking here.

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