Your eyes only: the art of photography

Bethlehem by night, made with my phone at the balcony of the hotel. I made this photo when I picked up my laundry and had only my phone and keys with me.


The number of times people asked me which camera I use, followed by the assumption that I must have a super deluxe, rare, masterpiece of technology in my hands, are numerous. All too often people suppose that my camera must be big. Referring to the bigger the better argument, whatever that means.

I’m convinced that underneath these questions, the hardwire assumption exists that whatever there’s in the photo, it all depends on the technical futures of the camera.

The latest camera and lenses with the best new developments of technology will bring you the most amazing photos in a split second. As some people might think.




Well, for everyone who believes this fairy tale, that’s in no way how photography works!

For sure, a technologically advanced camera and lens will improve the technical aspects of your photo but is in no way the foundation of the photo.


Honestly, in what I consider the art of photography, the most important thing you need are your eyes. For the simple reason that every ‘good’ photo –the ones where you can’t stop looking at- starts with a mind-blowing composition. You need your eyes to get this magic done, your camera will never ever do this trick for you.


What your eyes see, can never be decided by your camera. Consequently, what your eyes see is visible in the photo. So every composition depends on your eyes.


Sorry for all the fanatics out there who start photography by buying fancy cameras and advanced lenses… These candies will not be the first step in making a masterpiece of a photo.


This one was made with my phone while waiting for the guide in the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashad, Iran. Unfortunately, my camera was not allowed to get in the complex, even after multiple days of trying and talking. My phone was allowed to get in though, resulting in this iPhone photo.


The beginning


In creating a state-of-the-art kind of image, start with your eyes.

I’m even convinced that the most important equipment of anyone who loves photography are their eyes. For the simple reason that photography is your own creative way of storytelling. Photos can tell you how you see a subject: how you see the world around you.


Your photos are the product of what your eyes see, what goes on inside your brain, what your mind thinks. 


Learning to use your eyes, means training in what and how you see. Looking at things you want to photograph, using your eyes to find different angles that make the composition more interesting. In fact, always know what you are looking at. When you keep on looking and take time to process, your photos will improve. 

The best training is to make photos of everything you’re looking at. That doesn’t have to be with your fancy camera, every phone with a camera could do the job, as I did with the four photos in this text. As long as you concentrate on what you see and how you can put your subject in the frame.


Whatever you do, concentrate on the composition, not on the camera.




This photo was made with my phone at the train station of Ben Gurion airport in Israel. I just landed and had been waiting for 2 hours to get entry stamps at the airport. At that moment I was waiting for the train to go to Haifa. Because I was so tired, I took my phone to get photos instead of my camera.


Part two


The fancy camera and latest lenses come in second. They are the tools to make the quality of your composition better. For sure this is not an anti-camera-propaganda-story. The latest technology of cameras and lenses make it possible to create photos of a high standard, improving the quality of photos amazingly.

Still, the camera or lens doesn’t do the main job, your eyes do the main job. So besides learning how to use your camera, train yourself in how to use your eyes.


In fact, your eyes define the photo, your camera and lenses improve the photo.


Look, think, wait, click and repeat. Over and over again, until you have your own state-of-the-art kind of photo.


A daily scene in the bazar Erbil, Iraq. I bought some presents in the bazar and was fully packed on my way back when I saw this scene. At that moment I didn’t have enough time to get my camera, so I used my phone instead.


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