Ok photographer friends this one is for you! If you are a working photographer or you are even knew to photography than I am 100% positive at some point you made your way to Pinterest looking for posing ideas, or you started following some stellar photographer in your area or someone you aspire to be and tried to mimic their photos. STOP IT! If you have been in the industry for a while, chances are you have had a client come to you with a Pinterest board of inspiration or list of “must-do” poses that sucked the life out of your soul the second you saw it, because 1) its not your art and 2) you cringe at being the 10 millionth person to pose your clients and deliver an image of so cookie-cutter. I get it! I have been there. I have been the person scouring Pinterest for ideas and I have had the client with the list. Ugh. So! Lets talk about where you should be finding inspiration that will feed your artist soul and help you find your unique voice!
There is SOOOOOOOOO much inspiration in your everyday life. Whether you have a family of your own or not you can still draw from your own experiences and relationships for inspiration. As a family photographer my work completely shifted when I started having kids and really started thinking about the relationship between myself and my kids and myself and my husband. Now does that mean you need to be married with children to be a great family photographer?! NO WAY!!!! Think back to when you were a kid. Think about the relationships you had with your parents, your siblings, how your parents used to look and you or talk to you or how they used to treat each other (I hope those are good memories). Don’t want to pull inspiration from you own family? What about your friends with kids? Think through why you see unfolding in front of you when you are around families. Or just people watch like I do. Yes I am the weird person constantly watching others and taking it in. I’m here to tell you, you should too.
Artists Outside Your Industry
This is a big one! Stop looking at other photographers in your field for inspiration. 1) it will cause you to fall into the comparison trap and nobody thrives in there 2) you will find yourself communicating or even accidentally (if not intentionally) copying their voice. Want to thrive in this industry? Find your people, use your own voice. Nobody can tell you who that is or what that is…. So figure it out. Do the work and dive into who you are. For real. Ok, so then WHO can you look at. Hey if you are a wedding or family photographer, look at fashion or editorial photography. Want to get completely outside of photography? EVEN better. Look into painters, or illustrators that inspire you. Check out water colorists or even sculptors. Many people will study the greats throughout history in terms of art for inspiration or look into the clothing and high end fashion. You can literally pull inspiration from so many different avenues of expression. You just have to pay attention and see what sparks something inside you!
This one is a no brainer for me because I LOVE to travel. When I say travel, I’m not talking americanized resort in Cancun. I am talking TRAVEL. Like go see and explore the place you are visiting. Not the tourist traps. The real people and places and food of the place you are visiting. Learn about the culture. Look at the clothing and what the region is famous for. Get to know the food they eat and how they spend their day. Look down that hidden alley to see what is hidden behind the facade. Also, take your camera when you travel. When I travel the littlest things will spark inspiration. Like the way the signs are hanging, or a stack of crates are leaning agains a brick wall, or the way people walk or stand in line. You will be surprised how easy it is to be in awe of another place and its people. Then take that home with you.
Explore Your Local Community or Surrounding Area
I will admit. This one is hard for me. I’m easily inspired by things outside of my norm and almost alway numb to the things I see everyday driving down the road. That doesn’t mean there isn’t beauty out there. Obvisouly there is. So get out! Explore your local community. Take a walk around your block, a hike, or stroll downtown. Take your camera with you! Pay attention to the little things that catch your eye. The things that make your community unique, or special or cool. Cause you know what, it is, and it deserves to be documented. The more you take the time to really pay attention and spend less of your life with tunnel vision the more you will appreciate where you live and find inspiration on your daily commute.
Entertainment-TV/Cinema/Magazines Decor/Home etc
Last one, and easy. Hello. TV! (you don’t have to tell me twice to binge another Netflix show), Movies, Magazines. Home Decor accounts. Garden magazines. YOU CAN TOTALLY be inspired by any of these. Think about the ones that you really love or gravitate toward. The ones that spark joy in you and you walk away saying, “man that was pleasing to the eye” Sounds silly I know, but pay attention to what it is about those things that you are drawn to. Is it the color palate, is the the framing, is it the transition between scenes or the way the story unfolds? Take all of that and use it for inspiration moving forward.
Thats it guys. 5 places you can find inspiration that aren’t Pinterest. 5 places you can find inspiration that will help you to find YOUR unique voice and stay away from the comparison trap. Now, where do you find your best inspiration?