This is when copying other photographers’ work is a good idea

Feb 11, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

This is when copying other photographers’ work is a good idea

Feb 11, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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No matter if you’re a total newbie or you’ve been shooting for a while, the last thing you wanna be is a copycat. Nobody likes copycats, right? But bear with me. In this video from Westcott, photographer Glyn Dewis shares some situations when copying others’ work will be good for your own photography without harming the original authors. So let’s hear what he has to say.

YouTube video

Before we proceed, I must emphasize that you shouldn’t copy other’s people work and display it as your original idea. It’s a no-no! But copying it only for your personal use is fine, and these are some of the benefits:

First, copying other photographers’ work can be a crucial step in the process of developing your own style. This is especially useful for beginners who aren’t quite sure yet in which direction to go. Trying to copy photos from other photographers will, for starters, let you see if something works for you or not.

Then, remember that you will never be able to fully copy someone else. You work under different conditions and have different possibilities. Also, you have your own preferences, so you will change something in the process after all.

Lastly, copying other photographer’s work could be beneficial even for the more experienced among us. Look at photos by photographers whose work you really, really admire. Then, try to figure out how they did it and recreate the look: the lighting, the composition; the hair style and clothing of the model, etc. As Glyn calls it, try to “reverse-engineer” their photos and figure out how photographers you admire achieved certain results. This kind of “reverse-engineering” can keep you excited and make you feel as if you “cracked the code.” I sometimes do it with editing styles, so I can confirm that the feeling of accomplishment is pretty high when I achieve the desired look.

What do you think of this? Can copying other photographers’ work be a good idea in some situations, or you think it’s always a big no-no?

[How to Find Your Own Photography Style via FStoppers]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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4 responses to “This is when copying other photographers’ work is a good idea”

  1. Adrian J Nyaoi Avatar
    Adrian J Nyaoi

    For a start, yes copying is a good starting point. From there good photo by famous photographer should just be an inspiration.

  2. Duncan Knifton Avatar
    Duncan Knifton

    used as inspiration yes….direct copy, with no personal input by yourself…is both lazy and under valuing the original art.

  3. Don Barnard Avatar
    Don Barnard

    drawing inspiration from existing works is fine… after all…. name one photographer ever that wasn’t drawing inspiration from famous painters for composition and light? where would Karsh have been if Rembrant wasn’t there first?

  4. Hugh Dom Avatar
    Hugh Dom

    Reasons there are “Copyist Program” in some of the top museums for artists to develop their craft through intimate studies of master pieces. Usually is for painting, sculpture, and textiles work but don’t see why it shouldn’t apply to photography.