Last month we met with four of today’s top creatives for a pleasant chat. We asked them about their successes, failures, fears and joys.
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?
If you get stressed when you walk into the studio, or especially if you are taking your first studio steps, here is an inspiring message from David Turner, a Hallmark Institute of Photography’s resident. David says that those photos that seem so perfect and magical are not created as whole. They are an outcome of many, many small conscious decisions. Decisions like background, posing, lighting, tone and plenty of others. You just have to take the time to make each decision right. The time and the focus.
This of course does not mean that learning or getting inspiration is wrong, on the contrary. Those are the things that will help you make the right decisions.
If you are trying to get a project done (be it photography or otherwise), and you are on the verge of shipping for too long, because it is not “perfect” yet, you need to hear this message from James Victore.
James suggests that Perfection is a myth and is it not all that important. It is better to be DONE than to be PERFECT. And he explains why:
Photographer and Digital Artist Renee Robyn survived a devastating motorcycle crash that nearly left her paralyzed. Unable to leave her bed while recovering from the accident, she discovered a new way to express her boundless creativity without having to travel: digital composites. She’s now a critically acclaimed artist. Learn more about Renee’s inspirational story through her SmugMug Film, the latest in a series of stunning video shorts that we hope will inspire passion, ignite possibility, and encourage you to throw your own shutter wide open to the wonders of the world.
Below, Renee shares some of the tips she’s learned through years of “trying to make things suck less.”
Whether you’ve been a photographer for 10 weeks or 10 years, we’ve all heard the cautionary tales about yet another creative who’s packed it all up, sold off all their gear, + decided to do something else in terms of a career.
It’s with that in mind that I am writing about the importance of personal projects.
Most people hear that and think of young art school students, who pull together friends to shoot some fun stuff in between their demanding curriculum of school mandated projects. Now while that is a good example, it is worthwhile to note its importance on the healthy creative ‘paid/personal’ work balance that really never goes away, but we often forget nonetheless.
In June 1938 ‘action comics’ were published and Superman was introduced to the world. Not only was the character of Superman was born that day, but also comics as we know it. Today, 76 years later, comics is a multi-billion dollar industry.
Over the years comics became less cartoonish and more realistic, to the degree where today many refer to it as “graphic novel” rather than “comics”. Comic artists are great story tellers and by inspecting their art we can extrapolate and get inspiration for our own art. As an art form, comic books have a lot to teach us about photography.
Before we start, it is important for me to explain that I didn’t focus on a specific character or series, I tried to find examples from all around the comic universe, both male and female characters, well known and anonymous characters, DC and Marvel, old and new. With the main premise that Photographers can benefit from comics in a similar way that comics artist have benefited from photography.
Let’s start with something we all relate to comics, the superheroes!
How many frames do you take per shoot? One? Two? Fifty? Back in the days, film and developing was expensive so there was a price to each click. In today’s world clicks are cheap and a single frame no longer costs any money. This is why it is refreshing to see this tip coming from Hasselblad master Roman Jehanno.
It is a very simple advice: “shooting fewer frames will make you a better photographer“.
Roman says that the amount of pictures taken is counterproductive.
The creative process can sometimes be one of the most difficult aspects of a photoshoot. Think of all the time we spend mulling over ideas and concepts, trying to come up with up with a new project, until finally one sticks, only to be shelved even longer as we spend more time planning every last detail out. It can be a lengthy process, but it’s also really important. As Corey Rich explains in the clip below, the creative process needs to be nourished and encouraged to evolve, even after the shoot has started.
If you are currently struggling with your art, your career path, your passion, this is a very good speech to hear.
If you never heard of Neil Gaiman you must not have consumed any content in the last 10 years. Neil’s been practically anywhere, from Books (American gods), Comics (Sandman), the movies (Stardust) and plenty of others.
Aside from being one of my favorite authors, Neil seems to have ‘wondered’ into success, rather than set a goal and charge forward. In this 20 minutes Commencement Speech at the University of the Arts from 2012 Neil pretty much throws the truth about being in the creative field in everybody’s faces, and he does it in the most charming way possible.