What Goes Into Every Photo You Ever Take

I’m sure not many here, if any, have thought much, at all, about the mystery, magic, and mechanics behind the actual picture taking and picture making process?

We snap our shutter buttons, mostly spontaneously and serendipitously, and viola-a photograph appears before our very eyes!

No-fuss, no muss. Done. Simple. Next.

But, behind the scenes, working in unison, quietly but surely, there is so much enchantment happening between the very different and disparate parts.

As a matter of fact, for every single photo we ever take, whether casually or intentionally, using a big camera or phone camera, there is a remarkable blending and assimilation going on between many of these moving parts.

Some of these parts are technical and some are emotional.

Some have to do with the mechanical devices we hold in our hands. Other parts have to do with how we see the world and choose to capture it.

Here is the most astonishing and extraordinary reality-what goes into every photo we ever take, is a combination of technology, technique, tools, talent, and tangibles.

In list-form, for those who like to break things down, it might look something like this.


  • Camera hardware (lens, sensor)
  • Camera software (Image Signal Processor-ISP)


  • Controlling exposure
  • Controlling focus
  • Controlling color-balance


  • device you use
  • accessories you use
  • Talent
  • Motivation
  • Vision
  • Style
  • Emotionality


  • Light
  • Color
  • Design
  • Subject

These parts rarely, if ever, work in equal measure. More often than not, one or two or three of these influencers and drivers, take center share while the rest fall silently in line.

Sometimes technology and technique are most important. Other times… tools and talent. Still others times, the great tangibles of light, color, design, subject. speak most loudly.

But rest assured, whether you are aware of these moving parts or not, they are all present, in even the most casual of snaps you take every day.


It’s like a symphony where you aren’t really paying attention to the instrumentation of the parts but the orchestration of the whole. Can you hear it?

I’ve been doing photography, personally and commercially, for well over 4 decades. During that entire time, in addition to enjoying a comfortable living, I have been a life-long teacher and influencer of the craft of photography, passing off and on, with equal enthusiasm and joy, my experiences and knowledge base, to the next generation of shutterbugs, lensmen, and lenswomen.

I have noticed, over the years, without a doubt, all along the way in this visual journey, that newbie and veteran photographers alike, hardly ever lack information. They lack inspiration.

This is exactly why, as a photographer, teacher, and influencer, I spend less time on technical matters, which come and go with every new camera and smartphone device, and more time on universal, time-tested, photographic topics and themes.

If you look at the list above and parse any of my own photography writings and tutorials, you will unmistakenly see, that I spent the lion-share of my efforts and energy on the “Talent” and “Tangible” parts of this equation. Because I believe it is, these two areas, that make the biggest and most appreciable difference in your photography.

And it’s also the areas of photography I enjoy exploring and teaching about most.

It’s not that I don’t understand, value, or appreciate the tech. Of course, I do. It’s just that, I’ve been doing it for so long now, that the tech is, more or less, instinctual and self-actuating, so I don’t have to think or worry about it like I had to in the early days when I was just starting out.

The tech today is spontaneous, involuntary, impulsive, unconditioned.

Again, I repeat, the tech, whether you love or hate it, needs to first become reflexive, natural, second nature. So, you can spend more time on creating the work you love and less time worrying about the buttons, dials, lists, and menus.

You can’t really go around the tech. You have to go through it. You have to learn the tech absolutely!

With the help of several trusted business advisors, I’m going to take a slight detour, in my upcoming content-creation efforts, and focus the next couple of rounds, of courses, on the iPhone Camera settings.

Yep, you heard me right-settings, features, functions of the beloved iPhone camera

Granted, it’s not at all, the sexiest or most attractive of topics, but it’s one of the most important. And lessons you are going to need to make your tech more automatic and without conscious thought.

It’s likely also a topic with extremely wide market appeal as most need help here.

You are not alone.

So, be on the looking for a new course, coming your way soon, over the next few months, called, “iPhone Camera Settings Explained: Everything You Need To Know To Begin To Take The Best Photos Of Your Life, With The World’s Most Popular Camera”.

It will be available on the Moment platform.

I have put this content off for a while. It’s time. I’m ready and excited.

And I’m equally excited for you.



Jack Hollingsworth