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Studying color psychology will make you a more able and aware communicator. After you familiarize yourself with the ways other people relate to colors it’s time to make it personal.

You have specific and unique relationships with color. This relationship has many layers. It’s a product of your biology, your culture, your time, your community, your experiences, and the reactions you choose.

When you become more mindful of your relationships with color you will deepen them.

Becoming more aware of your personal relationship with colors will lead to personal discoveries, help you communicate more personal messages, and do so in a more personal way.

Begin this journey into color by spending time with color and freely associating. What sensations, emotions, thoughts, memories, associations, words and phrases arise within you when you are in the presence of a color? Ask these questions for as many different colors as you can think of. It helps to look at the color while you’re doing this.

Do this more than once. How have your relationships with colors changed over time? It’s likely you won’t know unless you develop this habit of being more mindful of color. It helps to have a journal to look back and see influences and patterns over time. Keeping a journal can be a mindful practice.

When you first try this you may draw a blank. When was the last time you tried something like this? When you were a child? Reawaken that playful spirit!

Get the process started and guide it along the way with questions. Ask a lot of questions. Instead of looking for one answer look for many responses. Write down your responses. When you write, write for yourself not others. Forget about perfection. Instead, aim for rich and deep. Later, revisit what you write and add more. Continue to use this reflective process to energize and enrich your relationships with colors.


Here are a few useful questions to ask.

Do you or don’t you like it? Why?

How does it feel? (Describe the sensation of it.)

When you see a color what to do you feel physically?

How do you feel about it?

When you see a color what do you feel emotionally?

Where do you find it in your environment?

Where do you find it in other environments?

Do you encounter it a certain times (of the day or year) and not others?

What things do you connect with it?

Does it bring back memories?

How often do you wear it?

How often do you use it in your images?

(Look back at all of your images. It can be very interesting to track your use of colors over time.)


What other questions can you think of to ask of color?

Write them down.

Find more answers.

Continue your personal journey into color.


Read more on Color Psychology here.

Learn more in my digital printing and digital photography workshops.


Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes on questions.

“Sometimes questions are more important than answers.” – Nancy Willard

“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.” – Decouvertes

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers”  – Voltaire

“Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers.” – Robert Half

“To be able to ask a question clearly is two-thirds of the way to getting it answered.” – John Ruskin

“If you do not ask the right questions, you do not get the right answers. A question asked in the right way often points to its own answer.” – Edward Hodnett

“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” – Tony Robbins

“For true success ask yourself these four questions: Why? Why not? Why not me? Why not now?” – James Allen

“Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much.” – Francis Bacon

“It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” – James Thurber

“I found I wasn’t asking good enough questions because I assumed I knew something.” – Alan Alda

“The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot wrong questions.” – Anthony Jay

“We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.” – Bono

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” – Thomas Pynchon

“There are no right answers to wrong questions.” – Ursula K Le Guin

“The one who asks questions doesn’t lose his way.” – African Proverb

“Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.” – Engineer’s Motto

“The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

Find more Creativity Quotes here.

Discover more quotes daily in my Twitter and Facebook streams.

The Benefits Of Not Knowing

January 17, 2013 | 1 Comment |

Sounding I, Wiscassett, Maine, 2001 

What I don’t know makes this image more interesting.

Several years after making this image, I couldn’t remember whether I had captured the snow photographically or rendered it digitally or if the appearance of snow was created with a combination of both. It was one of the few times where I felt my experience of my images was closer to the experience others have of them. In this instance, I no longer suffered from the curse of knowledge. I was confronted with a mystery. Rather than quickly rushing to open the file and settle the question, as only I could, I chose to cultivate the question and see what useful insights I could find in doing so.

I looked very closely at the image and saw more than I had seen before. I looked more closely at other people’s images of snow and saw more than I had seen before. I looked more closely at snow and saw more than I had seen before. Because of what I didn’t know, I knew more. Because I questioned what I learned (and the ways I learned), I learned more. Not knowing, can be wonderful! You may be pleasantly surprised by what you don’t know.

Many people look to photographs to confirm what they already know or think they know. I prefer to look to photographs to challenge, expand, and enrich what I know. In works of art, sometimes the things that remain unanswered and remain open become more valuable than the things that are answered and closed. The life of a good photograph extends far beyond itself and our initial experience(s) of it.

How do you know what you know?

How many ways can you challenge what you know in order to experience more?

Find out more about this image here.

View more related images here.

Read more The Stories Behind The Images here.


Seeing With New Eyes

March 18, 2011 | 2 Comments |

Marcel Proust wrote, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscape but in having new eyes.”

Increasingly, we all find ourselves photographing at locations where many have photographed before us.
When I encounter this I ask myself many questions.
Here are a few.
What’s been done before?
What made it work?
How could it be improved?
What hasn’t been done before?
How have things changed since that work was done?
What could be done to reflect that change?
What’s unique about this moment?
How many ways could that be made clear in images?
What’s special about my perspective?
How many ways can I make that strongly felt?

The right set of questions can help generate many ideas as well as guide and focus work.

I usually have so many thoughts and feelings that I need to make notes to catch them all. Trying to find the best words to express them with makes my understanding of them clearer.

Next time you find yourself in familiar territory, I recommend you start asking many useful questions.

Read more about the creation of this image here.

Find more resources about developing your personal vision here.
Learn more in my digital photography workshops.

Seek Feedback

November 29, 2010 | Leave a Comment |

One of the most valuable aspects of a workshop is getting feedback on your work. You get it from a respected authority. You also get if from diverse participants. The combination of both is powerful. You’ll see your work more clearly, see it through others eyes, and find new ways of looking at your work.

One helpful approach is to ask a lot of questions.

Polls quickly give consensus on key issues. Which image is most memorable? Which image is strongest? Is it a 3, 4, or 5 star image?

How good is an image? First, identify the best thing about it. Then, to rate it, compare it to other images (your best or a respected artist’s) with same strengths.

Compare images. How do different images work together? Find formal echoes. Find thematic consistencies. Find shared stylistic traits. Sometimes, two images paired together are stronger than either one alone.

Identify outliers. Which image doesn’t fit with the others?

What could be done now to make it better? Crop? Adjust color? Dodge and burn?

What could be done in the future to make similar images better? Reframe? Return at a special time? Introduce a new element?

Read more in my Creativity Lessons here.
Learn more in my digital photography workshops.

4 Questions – Orwig

September 11, 2009 | 5 Comments |

In Chris Orwig’s new book Visual Poetry , top photographers answer the same four questions.

What inspires you?

What makes a photograph good?

What character qualities should the photographer nurture and develop?

Advice for the aspiring photographer?

Find out what Chris’ answers were.

What are yours? Comment here!

Read more


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