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Five Steeples in Guanajuato:
Creating a Photographic Vision

by Barry Weiss

How does one start to create an artistic vision whether it’s in photography, fine art, painting, sculpture, drawing or cartooning?

I would suggest that you start with what you see in your mind's eye. What is it that continues to draw you to this vision? Is it color, composition, genre, technique, subject, image? Once you discover what attracts you to the image, the next step is to discover how to utilize these elements to manifest your vision.

It doesn’t matter whether you shoot with an iPhone, Ipad or DSLR camera; it’s composition and seeing the elements of composition that make the vision “work.” Line, shape color, texture, value, form, and space are the commonly recognized elements of composition.

Creating With Light

Photography is about creating with light.

The image above was shot in Guanajuato, MX. While walking around Guanajuato I saw these five church steeples in a line capturing the space on the hillside. I was also struck by the design and individual symmetry of each steeple. The vision I had was that of a scene of a 14th century Renaissance painting.

To create this vision required a few compositional steps on the editing process. The first step was to crop the bottom portion of the image to bring the focus to only the churches. Next, I needed to remove any resemblance of the 20th century in the photo.. i.e. tv antennas, buildings, rooftop clutter.

I replaced the sky with one that was a little more dramatic and then added the birds flying over the city.

I then used the Photoshop brush tool to add shadow and light on the buildings and to give the buildings dimension, aging and light for emphasis and contour. The finishing touch was to add a canvas texture over the entire image to create the look of a canvas painting.

All the changes were created in Photoshop, basically with four tools: cropping, brush, clone, and healing brush. By adding the sky, changing the tonality to a warmer look, adding the canvas textures and the birds, I achieved the look I wanted, that of a 14th Century Painting.

It’s all about one’s vision. a vision that can be created with the help of personal passion, instruction, mentor, photographs, paintings, books, Youtube videos, movies... Study the elements of visual art and then grab your camera and go shoot.


Barry Weiss is a photographer, teacher, and photography printer living in San Miguel. He teaches photography worldwide via Skype as well as in San Miguel. He specializes in portrait, home and event photography. His work can be found on www.barryweissphoto.com. For more information and available photography services contact Barry at BarryWeissPhoto@gmail.com.

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