Everyone seeks inspiration, especially artists and creatives. In this most Photographically Prolific Society of all time, the dilemma has become exceptionally difficult at best. Everywhere you look now, there is a Photographer. How do you stand out? How do you measure up?
A question you might be asking yourself could be “is Photography worth all the time and money that you have thrown at it?” Yes it is! Read on! I will give you the top five ways to both gain inspiration, and keep it forever…
#1. Remember How it Feels to Take that Image!
We all have this one! It’s fun! Sometimes we forget this one though… We get frustrated. My settings aren’t right; the light sucks; I have the wrong lens; I have the wrong camera; I’m in the wrong position… countless things are going through our minds, and ALL of them are bringing you down!
When this happens stop yourself and take a deep breath! Remember why you are there with your camera in the first place! Because it fun! It’s fun to be creative, even when you think you are not! This whole scenario happens to all of us. It’s happened to me as well, many times.
Sometimes I have to think really terrible thoughts to snap myself out of this one. Why? Because I visualize things in my mind. So there are times I’ve stopped my self and said “hey, you could be lying in the burn ward at the Hospital”… You might not see the need to go this far… My point is try and remember how it feels to compose that perfect image! It’s a blast! Do what ever you need to do to snap your mind away from negativity.
#2. Create a Project!
Such as city streets at dawn, or road shots, or clouds, or pictures with circles. Think up a project you might like. Something you are very passionate about! Create a series for your website. Don’t have a website? That is something you really should have as well. I don’t mean FaceBook either! You should have a website where you display your work. This alone could be your project!
A project will keep you focused. You’ll be thinking of all the cool ways you can Photograph something. You could very likely become well known simply because of your cool project!
#3. Shoot Less Images
Yes you read that right… Shoot less images but make them count for more! Back in the day, film had 24 exposures. Or the big roll of 36. Ansel Adams was pretty famous for setting up and only shooting four or five images in an entire day! Then he spent up to four days in the darkroom working on one image!
Today, many Photographers take thousands of images in one session. Think of all that work and time just going through those images! If you have done this you know exactly what I mean. How many did you throw away? How many did you actually edit?
Most importantly, how many did you print? Not printing your images? This alone is a travesty. Printing your Photography will improve your work exponentially. A lot of your mistakes will not show up online, but they will glare right at you in a print.
Bottom line is shoot less and try and make each image you shoot worthy of a wall hanger! By the way… a wall hanger is 20×30 or larger. An 8×10 you say? Hold up a sheet of paper on a wall. You’ll find it looks really small. People put 8×10’s in a drawer; or place them on a wall with lots of other 8×10’s, so now it disappears in the menagerie. A 20×30 is where the image starts to take over the topic of the room.
#4. Compose Images Way Outside Your Comfort Zone
Why should you do this? Because it’s a challenge, that’s why. It’s pretty hard to get bored or lackluster in your work if you are challenged. Have you ever shot art nudes? Try it! There’s a lot more to this than naked bodies.
Or how about Dance Photography? This is really not easy, and the Dancer also wants to know if you’re worthy of their time and effort! Are you artistic enough for them?
Or? Your challenge could be to just use one lens, and I DO NOT mean a zoom lens! I do this all the time with my students on PhotoSafaris. Yet still I have Photographers that show up with a bag full of gear.
It’s not the gear that makes your work. It’s not the camera. It’s not the lens. It’s the six inches behind the gear that composes the image. Make us see what you saw. Not a single person that bought one of my images ever asked me what camera or lens did I use. Only other Photographers wish to know that,… or settings.
#5. The Trap of “I’m Not Good Enough”
I have been teaching Photography and editing for over twenty years now. The “I’m not good enough syndrome” is rampant! I’ve heard this comment in almost every class. You are good enough! You’re awesome! Nobody but you, has your eye, your heart, and your passion. Your camera is good enough too! So is your computer!
On a repeated basis I’ve seen Photographers with very little experience capture the eyes of a large population and blow their minds. Why? Because they did not let anybody or anything stop them from their passion, that’s why. They did what that wanted with the gear they had. And their work stood out.
Telling yourself you’re not good enough is the absolute worst form of negativity. Your mind has already stopped. Your heart and your passion are already gone. You’ve killed your creativity, and your desire in your own mind. Creatively? You’re dead.
I blame the internet and so-so networking for a lot of this. We are now constantly comparing ourselves to what we think is greener on the other side. That “special” person with a lot of followers…Nonsense! Many of these depictions don’t ever show you their failures.
And on that subject? Your biggest mistakes are your greatest lessons! Our mistakes are what teaches us! You ARE good enough! Now go look in the mirror and realize the greatest thing holding you back is looking back at you! Stop this, purdy please?
Thanks for reading and being here!
Upcoming Events I’m Doing
Infrared Photography for Everyone! My next class at B&C Camera October 5th @5:00pm
This is also a great class for Photography in general! This class is for all skill levels and any camera! Even your smart phone!