Right Brain Photography


What happens in our brain while we are taking a photo? Well, when the brain's right hemisphere activity is predominant, we shoot in an instinctive way. Meanwhile, when we are using mainly the left hemisphere, our photos are more rationa,l with more care to composition, depth of field and other technical tricks. This is the first of three articles. This one is dedicated to photos taken using mainly the right side of the brain.

This article is the first of a three-part series dedicated to the the phenomena that occur in our brain when we take a photo. As you know, the right and left brain hemispheres have different functions. The right side is dedicated to instinctive and creative activities, the left one to rational and logical functions. When we are taking a picture, there is an interaction between the two hemispheres. The right side is linked to our impulse that makes us to press the shutter button in the “decisive moment,” while the left part of our brain is related to the rational logic that we use when we are studying the composition of the image, choosing the depth field, or when we want to create a logical sequence of pictures to tell a story.

Today, in this first article, I want to present some of my pictures I took by instinct, using mainly the right side of the brain. I’m not a doctor in medicine, but these notes were written after I read the book “Right Brain, Left Brain Photography” of the photographer Kathryn Marx. It’s a wonderful book to learn how to use both intuitive and rational power of your brain when we take a photo.

1. A smile is always contagious. And instinctively it induce you to press the shutter button without thinking too much!

Crédits: sirio174

2. Also in the photo below, taken at Fun Fair of Como, the smile of the girl, with her face charged with adrenaline and showing an explosion of joy, pleasure and happiness, which prompted me to shoot. Perhaps, unconsciously, there was also a second detail: the girl is barefoot on the carousel (for me living the free time barefoot is a synonymous of freedom). So, some conscious and unconscious details have lead me to shoot in an instinctive and spontaneous way.

Crédits: sirio174

3. In a judo competition, this girl has been projected to the ground. In a fraction of second, I saw that her eyes seemed to fix on something, maybe the opponent that defeated her. The photo is blurred due to the fast motion and a slow shutter time (it was taken with few light available) and the decisive moment was caught by instinct (keep in mind that in judo the decisive action takes place in a few tenths of a second).

Crédits: sirio174

4. While I was documenting a roller skating race, I heard some voices from the people behind me. Joy and despair of a moment have been fixed on my film!

Crédits: sirio174

5. Every year, there is a street parade in Como. This year, some volunteers dressed with beach clothes have simulated the beach life in the public park near the lake. The act of throwing the ball, the little bare foot raised, the lightness and harmony of the gesture of the girl led me to shoot instinctively.

Crédits: sirio174

6. Every year takes place in Piazza Cavour in Como a volley tournament, preceded by some dances that join the participants in a great public feast. The “almost-random” gestures of the hands of these boys, together with their smiles, has led me to take a photo by instinct.

Crédits: sirio174

7. Even in this case, the movement of the hands has attracted my attention. Some seconds after the girls were immersed inthe water. I took here another photo in an instinctive way. Look at the body language if you want to capture the “decisive moment!”

Crédits: sirio174

8. It must be fun to fly on this trampoline.The arms raised towards the sky of this barefoot girl led me to shoot without thinking too much about the composition or about the depth of field. The joy of flying barefoot was immortalized in an instant!

Crédits: sirio174

9. Here, in a public demonstration of yoga for charity, I instinctively captured a moment of collective hard work, sweat and fatigue! Two hours of yoga are a very long time! Congratulations to these girls!

Crédits: sirio174

10. I like sports photos, dynamic action. When this girl was cast forth to catch the ball, I decided to shoot without thinking about the fact that the photo was tilted.

Crédits: sirio174

11. In the last picture, I was struck by the girl’s smile as she jumped, and this was the impulse that prompted me to press the button. Only later, when I saw the negative developed, I realized that, perhaps unconsciously, I picked up another detail: the girl appears to be suspended in the air with both feet.

Crédits: sirio174

In the next article, I’ll show to you a series of photos taken using mainly the logical and rational side of my brain. And in the last article, I’ll show to you how to use both the power of the right and left side of our brain!

For now, don’t think; wait for the decisive moment…then shoot!

written by sirio174 on 2013-01-21 in #lifestyle


  1. lakandula
    lakandula ·

    Great article! But the last sentence of the second paragraph seemed to confuse between right and left brain. Isn't it that the Right is linked to our (cReative) impulse..., and Left to rational Logic? Please correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks and looking forward to the next article. Best regards.

  2. sirio174
    sirio174 ·

    @lakandula oops... yes! left = rational and logic; right = creative! Many thanks for the errata!

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