Watching Movies Can Expand the Way You Photograph

Winter is almost over in Missoula which means that many of us are about to come out of our cocoons and caves to see the light. What I love about winter, though, is that the cold weather is a great excuse to watch movies! So before the season is over, I would like to squeeze in a few more hours being inspired by great directors, cinematographers and actors.

Watching movies is a great way to study composition. Have you ever watched a movie with the sound turned off? How about watching a movie where you focus on the camera shots and editing cuts? If not, give a try even if you can only focus on this practice for a few minutes. There’s a lot to learn by watching a movie this way. Those of you who have studied filmmaking have certainly spent quite a bit of time doing this. It’s a great practice for photographers as well.  You will find that directors and cinematographers pay close attention to the same things that we do: color palettes, framing/cropping, lighting styles, formal composition elements like leading lines and rule of thirds…the list goes on.

Here’s a small list of films for those of you who would like to milk our winter instincts and make the most of our caves and cocoons before it’s time to jump into Spring. And for those of you who read this post, it would be so cool if you could add a list of movies you would recommend in the comment section below. I would love to spend my last few days/weeks of winter experiencing some of your favorite films!

          And….any movie by the Coen Brothers!!!


9 thoughts on “Watching Movies Can Expand the Way You Photograph

Profile photo of Marcy James

Marcy James

I forgot… Life of Pi….Oooooh that just made my imagination run wild

Tom Robertson

Harold & Maude

Profile photo of Tony Rix

Tony Rix

The Last of the Mohicans
Dancing with Wolves
What Dreams May Come
The Last Samurai

Profile photo of FaithD32


Gone with the Wind has some beautiful shots!

Bill Rugen

Two words: Royal. Tenembaums.

Profile photo of rootedinwonder

Kari Ann Holcomb

Anna and the King 1999
Out of Africa 1985
The Invisible Woman 2013
Cairo Time 2010
Russia House 1990
Bright Star 2009

Profile photo of Ben Ferencz

Ben F.

400 blows. Claire’s knee. my night a Maude’s. Jules and jim


these may not be the type of movies you are talking about nut could be of interest

Profile photo of Marcy James


These are all awesome awesome movies. Ben I can see that we appreciate the same french films. And Louise I can’t wait to check out the documentaries. Mighty fine list. Royal Tenenbaums…Oh yes. And Tony and Kari, I think I have my movies for the next few weeks. I can’t wait to see what this does for my shooting!

Comments are closed.