Everyone has a motive for being a photographer. For some it’s obvious. For some, not so much. I find myself admiring the photographers that are in it for the satisfaction of creating something. Generally something artistic. Even wedding photos or new born shots can be amazing art. Of course, there are photographers that spend hours just taking pictures without giving the slightest thought of how the light on the subjects look. They don’t learn lighting. And their finished product, in my opinion, isn’t much better than those cell phone shots. These are the photographers where I just can’t put my finger on why they shoot. Don’t get me wrong, as long as they are having fun I’m good. Not judging, just wondering.
I think photography is very different from 20 years ago when there were far fewer cameras. I think it’s actually easier to stand out with art than ever before. With the flood of cameras in cell phones and social media giving us those wonderful pictures of food, cats, and selfies it makes a great photo stand out even more. In my opinion. There may be a thousand times more photos out there but there certainly isn’t even ten times more art.
My motive is to create artistic photos. Art touches the mind, heart, or both. It can bring out an emotional response. A gasp, a tear, a smile. That is what I shoot for. Often I only make someone tilt their head and squint…and sometimes scratch it. You never know if others are going to love, hate, or scratch.
In order to be creative and get results that don’t look like yesterday’s or last weeks, you always have to think about what might be interesting to try. It might fail, but even failures usually lead to other ideas that work wonders. Everything from finding an old wooden ammo box in the alley (thank you Linda!) to getting an email from an electronic parts/gadget store. They can and should trigger a curiosity of how something you see can help you create something interesting.
The above shot of Caitlan with a light fiber going around her face was a last minute test shot to play with something I found for sale in an email. Well, it was a ‘LIGHT’ after all and that’s what we paint with in photography, right? And even when I shot it I wasn’t sure the test worked…until I got it in the software and started to play and this shot emerged out of the darkness. Worth playing?
And sometimes it’s a test shot turned art. I was testing the lighting and normally I’d have Cassandra have her feet up to catch more curves. I told her to relax and I kept adjusting until I got the lighting I wanted. Then we did all the shooting of legs up and other body scape work. When I went to edit I found a set of legs making as straight a line as a female can make and messed with it until it turned into some art I’m really proud of. It was a test. I was playing.
If the pictures you take today look like the ones you took last month, or last year, your motive might be just taking pictures for the fun and not the satisfaction. If it’s for fun you can bet your pictures will look the same in 5 years.
Think about lighting. Always! Do something different by thinking of options. Let your mind wander. Set your camera down often and think about how you might improve or change up the lighting to give you something outside your comfort zone. Hell, what’s a comfort zone!?!