In the first of this series of three blogs about how to take better photographs by stepping back from your camera, I wrote about the importance of looking at photos and learning from them. To some extent, I believe you do learn a lot just by looking at other's images, without even taking the time to really study them. I think you do intuitively develop a sense of what works.
In my day job as a Headteacher, and previously as a teacher, of junior schoolchildren, I encourage children to develop their writing by reading books they enjoy.
The children will take a favourite story - The Three Little Pigs say - and then write their own version. Simply retell the story.
Then they focus on one element of the story to change - what if they weren’t pigs but clowns? what if it was set in the city or in space?
Finally, they get to write a new story with the framework of the original idea - a group being victimised and evicted by a bully.
Applied to photography, look at a picture you really feel inspired by, one that you wish you’d taken. Study it.
What makes it work? Composition. Lighting. Setting. Story.
Then try and copy these themes in a shot of your own.
And finally consider the theme, the story. Take your own shot inspired by the original.