Feeling Stagnant in your Photography?

Now is an exciting time to be photographer because it is so accessible, but it’s also harder than ever to stand out. Why? 

I see 2 reasons:

  1. The obvious…there are more photographers now than ever before. Whether your photography is professional or recreational this can be daunting…how can your work stand out amongst so many others? 
  2. Most photography is emulative, not Creative. Look around, the vast majority of photography you see looks the same. We see a beautiful image and want to copy it. How many photos have you seen of the same waterfall in Iceland? Getting inspiration from other’s work is good, but we need to bring our own vision to bear in our work. We will touch more on this in the near future. 

If you are reading this, then chances are that photography is your creative outlet. I want to help you develop your own style as a photographer, whether professional or hobbyist, by sharing what I’ve learned in my career. But be forewarned, this process may require you to forget everything you ever thought you knew about photography. 

Are you ready? Lets begin…

A pivotal moment in my photography came years ago when a mentor of mine and fellow photographer suggested we walk through the world-renowned National Museum of Wildlife Art here in Jackson Hole. I had visited the museum before and enjoyed it, but this time he suggested we approach it differently. I was getting bored with my photography. For years I had drawn inspiration from other more experienced photographers and my aim, whether I realized it or not, was to develop my own collection of images that could stand up next to theirs and be virtually indistinguishable. With time I developed the portfolio I dreamed of…and I was bored with it. I slowly began to realize that by copying others photography I had stifled my own creativity. 

Here is what I want you to do: 

1) Take some time to look at famous paintings. Click here to view a compilation of paintings online. Of course, if you have access to a museum or gallery, then do that. 

Forget everything you thought you knew about photography and allow your assumptions to be challenged asking these questions: 

How does the painting guide the viewers eye thorough the scene to the subject?
How does the artist utilize light and shadows? Composition? Space? Detail?
What is the perspective? Is the viewer looking down on, or up at the subject?

2) Tell me about your experience. What stuck out to you regarding the questions above? How were you challenged? You can tell me over email.