These days images work as an universal language of our time. We all have thousands of images whether they are in our phones or laptops, and essentially – all people are – photographers these days.
Images have lost their way of aging, since they are all digital and they are being produced every second.
But this is profoundly the reason we need photographers; people who can read a situation and bring clarity in telling the narrative.
To bring structure with their vision when anyone can have a vision through having access to a camera.
We are all the witnesses of the events that take place around us. What we decide to see is depends on the perception of the individual.
Photography community is now facing challenges like increased competition and saturation of the material out there.
Often we as photographers might lose sight of what it is that drives us forward during these times.
How do successful photographers wake up everyday just to continue photographing and publishing their images?
1.Find purpose in photography
Why do we do it? I think we all ask ourselves this question, especially as we are presented more and more with images other photographers take and are prone to comparing ourselves to them.
Being just interested in photography will eventually lack the purpose you’ll need to have passion for it in the future.
One way to find passion for photography, is created by a personal cause. How does one define their cause then?
A cause can be a person or thing that acts, happens, or exists in such a way that some specific thing happens as a result; the producer of an effect.
Asking yourself, whether or not photography is serving a purpose to you at the moment, will greatly benefit your inner motivation. What do you love about photography?
Examining your work and asking yourself what are the themes you love to work with and what gets you excited in photography will clarify your cause.
The work you produce is first and foremost a reason for creating a new perspective.
Is your work changing the way people are looking at a specific subject?
2. Define your visual language
Because we are surrounded with so many images, we also tend to start comparing ourselves to others.
This is especially true when you’re just starting out and taking a hard look at what it is you want to focus on in photography.
This might seem like a pitfall for some, because this comparison will always introduce you to two things:
- There are thousands of photographs just like yours
- Someone is always succeeding better than you
This is also what will distinguish you from the rest of the successful photographers – are you easily discouraged by someone else’s way of working ? If you answered yes, that is the first thing you should examine.
Photography speaks. When you discover and later understand photographic visual language, you will see that this language can inform, educate and move audiences worldwide.
That is the moment where you will figure out your purpose by translating your words in visual ways.
Many photographers are drawn to the people they photograph.
That instant where you can combine your cause with engaging with your surroundings will eventually communicate your visual language.
It is your interest towards a topic that will build this language.
Being excited for the moments when all the elements align – that is an empowering feeling and fuel to your passion. When all the circumstances in a situation line up perfectly: from the lighting, to the natural emotion between you and your subject, to the overall ambiance and the intense surge of inspiration.
You can also look at it in a different way: photography gives you power. It will provide you with the power of speaking your mind about the things you see.
Ways to define your visual language
Storytelling will not die, it will change and evolve but it is human nature to want to learn, to be educated and to understand our world through narratives.
You can start defining your language by looking at your images to find what similarities you have throughout the images.
Look closely at:
Topics – are you interested in small details or a broader view of a specific theme?
Incidence angle – Are you looking at things through humor or are documenting the reality?
Colors – Do you notice working with less light or other specific lighting that is similar in most of your work?
3. Engage with the surroundings
An image is a memory about time, about staying in the moment. Images can also change behaviour, stimulate understanding and create a sense of urgency that will move people to action.
If you are a person who enjoys their time alone, photography is a tool to translate that time through engaging with your environment.
It will create an intriguing space for you, where you’ll start seeing details more vividly.
This is a very magnetic space to be in, and is one of the easiest ways to raise your inspiration and creative mindset.
Being more aware of what it is that’s happening around you and looking at the world as you would through your viewfinder.
Use the camera to create a portal for breaking down barriers between you, the photographer, your subject and the viewer.
An exercise to raise your creative mindset
It’s incredibly important for photographers to document everyday life and even sometimes the seemingly mundane, not just for a better understanding of our times, but for individuals in the future to be able to reflect on.
A photograph is particularly powerful because it is accessible to most of humanity.
You can capture something ethereal and profound that you would not otherwise see or recognize if you would just be passing it by.
Photography gives you an opportunity to see the world differently; not through some new point of view, but by giving in to our heightened sense of curiosity.
There are different photography challenges that help you with this, but this is especially helpful when you feel discouraged to photograph and are struggling with finding inspiration.
For two days, decide to go out of your house with your camera and during that time you’re out, concentrate on the following:
1. Notice everything that is moving
2. Look at everything that is blue
You are now looking at things from a more conscious viewpoint. Noticing details and paying attention to your surroundings. Ask yourself: from everything you see, what it is you are the most drawn to ?
Now photograph that. Stop photographing after you have couple of images you like. How did this exercice make you feel?
Come back to this exercise whenever you want to be more conscious of your surroundings and increase your creative mindset.
After doing this exercice for a period of time, you will start to experience more excitement and passion for photography.
What a thrilling time to be looking through your camera knowing you can create something unique, something beautiful, something rare.
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Inspiring thoughts about photography staying inspired for taking photos and finding versatile topics to capture!
Sonya Mantere says
Exactly! We don’t always notice how we can bring more of the creative mindset into our daily life ☺︎