Photography legend Joel Meyerowitz on how to take a good photo

Listen to Joel’s interview with BBC Radio 4, outlining his top five tips for taking a great shot.



In this relaxed and engaging podcast chat with BBC Radio 4, the renowned Master photographer talks us through his five top tips for capturing great images. Hearing these simple yet highly effective tips from the man himself allows listeners to gain a true insider’s insight into his creative process.

For anyone considering joining the Masters of Photography online Joel Meyerowitz photography course, listening to this short podcast is a wonderful introduction to the Master and a chance to get a taste of his teaching style.

Unlock your own creativity and take your skills to the next level with the Joel Meyerowitz photography course.


The Podcast

In this short discussion, not only does Joel cover his five most important tips for capturing memorable and striking images, he offers a concise insight into the story behind his own success and what drives him in his work. His relaxed and friendly demeanour reveals a man of great integrity and spirit and, despite being one of the world’s most renowned photographers, his generosity in sharing his skills, knowledge and personal ethos is nothing short of impressive.

In under five minutes the podcast covers a lot of ground, punching well above its weight in terms of creative nuggets for the aspiring photographer. For those who don’t have the time for any in-depth research before beginning an online Joel Meyerowitz photography course, the podcast is the perfect way to gain a glimpse into the passion and personality of this great man and get a taste of what to expect from the experience.


Discovering the Five Basic Tips

The beauty of this discussion lies in its simplicity and Joel offers the most basic of advice – even before your choice of camera, be it a smartphone or a high-end digital SLR. However, while his five most important things may seem simple, when put into practice, they can provide more than mere technical skill – and you begin to realise they do in fact form the basis of the Master’s own creative philosophy. (More of which you’ll discover as you work through the lessons in the Joel Meyerowitz photography course.)


An Appetite for Life

The most important thing to possess, he says, is an appetite for life. In other words, to be successful in a creative endeavour like this, you must really want to be out there, truly seeing things and attempting to make sense of the world in which we live. Simple? Maybe. True? Definitely. For without the genuine desire to look beyond the superficial scenes we walk through every day, what hope could we have to capture the extraordinary?


Consciousness and Identity

The second thing Meyerowitz advocates is consciousness, by which he means that we should not simply be looking to capture the images lying in wait around us, we should be trying to capture the things that represent us and our own individual creative identity. In order to achieve this state we need to be on high alert (consciousness) at all times, noticing and responding to the way things make us feel. The example he uses in the discussion is noticing how that tree makes you feel against that sky, and putting the two together in a composition – creating a true moment of consciousness. The trick, of course, is recognising these moments and being quick enough to react.


Be Willing to be Bored

The Master’s third tip may sound counter-intuitive, but by allowing oneself to stay in one spot for long enough (for example a busy street corner), he says you’re likely to experience an ‘epiphany’ of sorts, when you’re able to separate from the mundane and start noticing the more unusual things. And, he adds, these unusual things that we notice (and, hopefully, capture in images) will be different for each of us – which ties in with the previous mention of our own creative identity and leads directly to his fourth tip.


Discover what Moves You

Discovering what moves us could well be the most important thing Joel advises in this discussion: the idea that when we can work out what truly moves and affects us in the world, and then connect with that passion, it’s at that point we might actually be able to capture what he calls ‘real images’.


Everyone Can Create a Masterpiece

In terms of taking great photos, Meyerowitz reveals it is his belief that everyone, no matter who they are and how much or little formal training they’ve had, has within them the potential to create a masterpiece. He says that if you have eyes, a camera and develop that aforementioned consciousness, you can bring those things together in your own unique way and find that moment (which only you will find) in which the magic happens. He says we need to look for the ‘gasp reflex’. Be it a huge one or a small one, that gasp that we feel involuntarily, when we recognise that moment, is the time to capture the image.


Recognising Our Inspiration

The closing seconds of this podcast sum up one of the Master’s most valuable insights. 

He says we need to develop the ability and the open-mindedness to look around us and really discover what makes us gasp, because that gasp is our inspiration. That fraction of a second, when we breathe in sharply and connect with the world in a different way, is what the art of photography is built on… 

Think you’d enjoy the relaxed, personal teaching style of this acclaimed Master? An online Joel Meyerowitz photography course affords you quality time with the man himself as you gain firsthand insight into his methods and philosophy.


The Joel Meyerowitz Photography Course

Masters of Photography is proud to partner with the world’s most acclaimed photographers in our comprehensive online classes. The Joel Meyerowitz photography course is suitable for all skill levels and provides lifetime access to the easy to follow lessons, which can be completed at your own pace. You can choose to have it delivered to whichever device you feel most comfortable with and we offer a full money back guarantee.

You can choose from the ultimate Masterclass, which takes in 34 lessons over five hours, or the Discovery Class, which encompasses eight key lessons from the Masterclass across an hour and 20 minutes.

The lessons cover a wide range of technical topics including composition, light and colour, but more than that, they offer a compelling insight into the Master’s own practices. In his own voice, you’ll discover his philosophies and come to understand how his personal creative journey has influenced his work.


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If you’d like to learn more about all our Masters Of Photography, then why not join up to our Free Online Photography Courses, where you can trial some content for FREE before you enrol in a photography course. You'll get a lesson from each our Masters: (Albert Watson, Cristina Mittermeier, David Yarrow, Joel Meyerowitz, Nick Danziger, Paul Nicklen and Steve McCurry!). They'll cover a number of genres of photography including landscape photography, street photography, fine-art, sill life, fashion, travel photography, conservation photography, wildlife photography and much more.

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