Lately, I started to do some research about becoming a better writer. Apparently a lot of the suggestions that I read also translate into photography and probably a lot more creative professions. Thinking outside the box is always advised to get some new kind of input and reading tips about photography written by photographer’s all the time can get a bit stale. Therefore I took the tips that are directed at writers and transferred them into street photography.
Have you ever seen that “CC Welcome” caption on photos uploaded to Facebook, Flickr and 500px? Basically it stands for Creative Critique or Constructive Criticism, and it is probably the worse way possible to ask for feedback.
Photographer Joe Edelman notes that one of two will probably happen: you either get a bunch of ego flattering, one worded, “awesome” comments. Or real criticism happen and the photographer starts defending their choices. Neither is really helpful. To combat this Joe suggests several tips that will solicit good feedback right from the start:
Great light is what creates great images
What makes a photograph is not the camera sensor, or the autofocus system, or the depth of field. Photographs are made with light.
I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to pixel peeping. I’ve gone through my share of acute episodes of G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), but the specific gear you’re using is so much less important than whether you’re using good light.
There always are, and will be, new articles outlining new camera tech with better attributes. They compare the iPhone 7’s camera to a pro DSLR, and in-so-doing, pose the question of if the professional photographer is a dying breed. With high quality image capture devices steadily becoming more affordable and accessible, who needs a “real” photographer anymore? Because isn’t the high quality, expensive gear the defining factor between a pro and an amateur? And is that gap narrowing with the advent of better, cheaper, cameras?
Here is something I never thought I’ll see, but sometimes the real world provide the most awesome nuggets. In their most recent newsletter, Adobe wanted to highlight some Lightroom features. Their way of doing so was to basically say that you don’t need to worry about anything camera related. Just fix it all with Lightroom later.
The title of the newsletter was “New benefits added to your Creative Cloud Photography plan“, so I reread the thing, really slowly now, here is the actual text from the newsletter:
Shoot now, fix later with Lightroom CC.
Don’t worry about perfect camera settings and lighting. With Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC, you can lighten, darken, sharpen, and more after you take the photo.
When it comes to creating images that stand out, one thing is super important. Preparation! As it would take too long to go over everything I do to prep on one article, I will focus on one of the key elements, mood boards! Now without any hard evidence to back me up, I’m pretty sure that the old master painters used to mood board in their own way. They would do a moodboard with sketches of various parts, and use it as a reference when they painted the piece as a whole.
I have a friend who is a painter, and he too mood boards in his own way when creating his works of art. He cuts out reference images from magazines, or prints them out from photos he has seen online. As he is creating his final painting, he has them pinned to a board to reference as he paints. Cool eh?
Whether you like it or not, as photographers we are all artists! So why not act like artists and put the prep in beforehand. This includes sketches, writing out lists, creating background stories and building mood boards. I started creating mood boards on the advice of another photographer, the mood board king as I like to call him, Dean Samed. Dean created a Photoshop master class, and in it laid out the importance of creating mood boards, and I have been converted ever since.
Depression? In order to make this hit home what it’s like living with depression I’ve written this article twice. The first half is during my mindset when I’ve been depressed, how I feel, what I think. The latter is my reflection upon the previous article when I’m in a better mindset.
It took me 9 days to turn around my mindset for some brief rest.
Inspiration, much like emotion, happens to be one of those things we can often get lost within and struggle to recall without the helpful nudge of others around us. The problem with this when it comes to creating new work, is that it relies on you to remain as current or observant as possible in order to find things around you to spring board from.
That approach isn’t exactly a problem per se, I mean hell, who doesn’t find inspiration in the world around them? Be it movies, music, lyrics, sounds, other photographers works, comics etc… there’s truly an endless field to pick your flowers from but sometimes we want to start from a fresh foundation. A new idea, something more unique or off the cuff.
Here’s what I propose in order to get some new ideas off the ground. Write yourself 3 random categories right next to to each other, they can be anything, I’ll go for: Prop, Mood, Colour.
Now write yourself random words that you think of under each category:
If you go through Flickr galleries and popular photo, model mayhem or Facebook photography groups, some photographs keep popping up. You see them again and again to the point you just want to scream. Not necessarily because they are bad, but rather because they are lacking any clear photographic idea.
As deeper you dive into the world of photography the more you recognize this sad truth: one photographer is creating something, 100 others copy that idea and absolutely 100 of these copies are worse. give it some times, and these things will pop up as “ideas”. Models will writing: “I want to do a powder shooting“, make up artists come up with “let’s do some extreme makeup with chocolate on the lips and honey in the face” and photographers are buying ringlights with bad CRI in Home Depot for the catchlights.
This is then sold as “image idea” – but is it really an “image idea”, or are simply copied and served clichés?