The Photographers Code

Photography Education From Grinke Creative


Neuro-Chromes. If nothing else, it’s an interesting non-word. I was first introduced to the word by Bambi Cantrell, a portrait photographer out of San Fransisco. I don’t know if she coined the phrased, it was just the first time I heard it. I had been using the technique for years, I just never knew what to call it.

A neuro-chrome is simply using your brain to capture images rather than a camera. How many times have you been somewhere and saw something that would have made a great image? Well this is the start of a neuro-chrome. The next time you you have that experience, take the time to figure out why it would make a great image.

Take time to consider

  • the lighting – where is it coming from, is it a soft or hard light, why does it suit the subject, are there supplementary light sources
  • background – tonality in relation to the subject, distance from subject, texture, layers
  • the subject – what is it, why are you attracted to it, how is the subject light

I am a portrait photographer and I find myself doing this all the time. It could be anywhere but very often I am in a restaurant and I will spot a scene that would make an amazing image. I will take my “neoro-chrome” and later try to dissect the image and recreate it. This technique is one of the best ways I know to learn to see light. Once you learn to see light, you will have a much better understanding of how it works. Eventually, you will get to a point where you can predict light. And this is where you want to be.

Once you are able to predict light, you can walk into any situation and get the best shot possible. Try it, you’ll like it.

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