Vision – The One Thing You Have or You Don’t

VThere’s a difference between composition and vision, that being composition can be taught, vision is just something you are born with.

I know some people may argue that you can learn vision too. Maybe so, but I still believe it’s something you either have or you don’t and no amount of study, practice is going to give it to you.

To me, vision is defined as being able to see something where others may not. Again, you may disagree but let me give you an example of what I mean.

Before Apple came out with the iPod, I had several MP3 players. All were cumbersome to load with music and navigation was done by hitting forward and back buttons. When Apple came out with the ipod, they created an easier way to navigate and that was the wheel. Suddenly almost every MP3 player had a wheel of some sort to navigate with.

It’s easy to duplicate vision.

You see something a filmmaker or photographer has done, you can duplicate it but you weren’t the one that had the vision to create it in the first place.

I’ve talked with several photographers and filmmakers about why some people can see images where others can’t. There’s no real consensus why.

I’ve filmed with a National Geographic cover photographer in Utah. He would see the shots that I saw but then he’d go off and climb up on some rocks and shoot something that never even occurred to me. Maybe you can chalk it up as experience, but he saw the possibilities and I didn’t.

So what do you think? Is vision something you have or you don’t or is it something you can get over time?

And as always, shoot the ordinary and make it extraordinary!

Kevin J Railsback is a wildlife and nature filmmaker

By | 2016-11-06T09:38:56+00:00 April 26th, 2016|Categories: A to Z Challenge 2016|3 Comments

About the Author:

Award-winning filmmaker Kevin J Railsback has traveled as far as Africa to test HD cameras for Panasonic. His stunning nature and wildlife footage has appeared in productions on National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel as well as in commercials for such corporate giants as AT&T.


  1. Becca Green Gasper April 26, 2016 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    Maybe vision is a little of both. Something you have naturally and something that grows as you grow. But i don’t think vision can be taught. Some people can just see what others can’t..

    • Kevin J Railsback April 28, 2016 at 7:14 pm - Reply


      Maybe those that have a sense of vision can refine it and build upon it. Composition can go a long way in helping you get good images but sometimes it just comes down to a gut feeling that something is magic or not.

  2. Arti April 27, 2016 at 3:17 am - Reply

    Hi Kevin. I like your post. It got me thinking. You are right,” It’s easy to duplicate vision.”
    I can talk about writing, which is my solace. Photography is becoming a close third, after gardening.
    Other people’s writing and style inspires me and I tend to use their style when I’m under that author’s influence. At first, it’s like stirring a test tube filled with water, soil, dirt etc. It all gets muddled and becomes a mess for sometime. I write and write some more. Soon, that influence wears off and the words I write sound like me. The more I write and find my peace, the more settled this water gets. I may still be influenced by what I’ve read, but the clear water that lies on top is ‘my’ vision. It takes a long time, and it takes courage to stick with it. But, over time, it does show up. You may still call it composition:)
    When I take pictures, I’m completely at the mercy of what I see.
    As Prince said “everybody wants to tell what’s already been told.”
    And yes, there are people out there who see things we don’t. When we cross paths with them, we tweak out compositions, or at least I do.

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