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On a cold winters night in 2010 I arrived early in Union Square in NYC to meet a friend for dinner. I had my camera with me—I had recently quit my corporate job and launched a photography business. I felt the need to explore the area to see if I could find anything moody and dramatic to photograph in the harsh, cold city landscape.
I was walking down 18th street when my intuition said ‘turn left at the corner.’ Being self-taught in photography I’ve learned to trust how my body responds when I feel something I want to photograph. I’ve discovered that if I approach photography from the heart rather than the head, if I tune in to how I am feeling, magical moments come to me. I experience photography; I don’t do photography.
My conditioned voice—the voice of our parents/teachers/society—said, ‘what are you doing? Go to the restaurant, you’re going to be late and James will be upset.’ I knew this wasn’t true—James knows I’m a photographer and would understand if I told him I had to capture a shot.
I’ve worked hard to silence my negative voice and consciously choose not to listen to it anymore or let it lead my decisions and my life.
I trusted my voice, smiled, and turned left at the corner.
A plume of steam was rising from a subway grate on the ground. Cars were at a stoplight, and the headlights were illuminating the steam creating a brilliant cloud of light. A man happened to be situated between the steam and the cars. His shadow lurked behind him, displayed like a movie on the steam. I had to be fast: the man, the steam, and the cars were all moving quickly. I got low down on the ground, prayed to the photo gods that no one would walk in front of my lens, and clicked the shutter button.
Of course I ended up being late to the restaurant. As I entered though, a huge grin was on my face. My intuition was right; it was a magical moment.
I don’t have the creative genius to formulate or create photos like this. I don’t want to force photos to happen. I want to be present, explore, I set no expectations, and see what photos want to be created. I don’t go looking for them—they start coming to me in the beautiful intuitive dance that we play.
Intuition can communicate with us in three different ways—it can be a feeling, it can be a voice, or it can be visual.
Pay attention to how your intuition communicates with you. For example, when you’re in a conversation with someone, do you say, ‘I know what you mean?’ ‘I hear what you’re saying?’ or ‘I see what you mean?’ We have all three of these, but usually one is stronger than the others.
5 Ways to Photograph More Intuitively
1. Let go of shoulds.
Let go of any thoughts of what you should do or what you should capture. If we think about what we have to capture, we block ourselves from seeing what could be around us.
2. Connect to your inner child.
Connect to the child within you. Children try to make everything fun. Tap into your inner child and look around with curiosity and wonder.
3. Let yourself be vulnerable.
Allow vulnerability. Let go of what you think you have to capture or what you feel is right. Show your true self with your own lens!
4. Embrace the spirit of exploration.
Explore and walk around in an area your not familiar with. Try seeing everything around you with fresh new eyes.
5. Tune in.
Tune in and see what intuitive hits you’re receiving—is it a feeling, a loving voice, or are you getting visual hits?
About the Author
Mindy Véissid is an award-winning fine art photographer and author of The Art of Intuitive Photography. She hosts classes and workshops in New York and internationally. More info at artofintuitivephotography.com.