Finding your way in photography takes a few things and many different ones. Finding your way requires your views and thoughts on the world. From past experiences that shaped how you perceive, to the minutiae discussions and advice you’ve chosen to take onboard. Finding your way in photography is just that, your way.
Little background history
I started in the darkroom, using Ilford black and white film on a Canon AE-1 SLR. I would shoot anything that a typical teenager would, friends, places, objects, sports activities, anything I was interested in. Then I started shooting in colour, then I got poor and had to start shooting digital. Then later I kept transitioning between black and white and colour. I went down the fashion photography path then into the studio. After all that wondering and trying and learning over 15 years, I ended back up where I started. Photographing in black and white, focusing on objects, landscapes and little snippets of my life.
What I’m getting at is that finding your way in photography is a never ending journey. You will always be changing and developing your eye and knowledge. Evolving through your practice, from large to slight variations on your style and approach to your interests and subjects. Repetition with slight variations. This is progress, this is finding your way. You have to trust yourself and your instincts. You shouldn’t look at what’s popular or what’s trending at the moment and simply repeat it. This approach is a great way to fall into a downward spiral of empty meaningless work.
A shortcut to finding your way
If there was a shortcut to finding your way in photography like a pill, would you take it? There are quick ways to be someone else and follow, but there isn’t a quick way to develop your vision. What enjoyment would arise from coming to a quick conclusion? No more wondering or trying new things. No more struggles or failure because you have arrived? I personally like the journey over the destination, learning, trying, failing and finding my own way through my artistic expression. Everyone has their own path, what’s yours. Why do you need that specific gear that someone mentioned to you to get there, or composition, degree, workshop whatever it may be? What’s your hurry anyway?
If you want a formula or list of things to do to get to the end, there isn’t one. There is no rule book to life, career or artistic path. Sure you can choose to follow someone else’s views on what to do (Bible, Quran). But I strongly suggest you make your own list and choices on how to live and walk your path in life and photography.
Walk your own path
Walk your own path without ignorance. Take what people have to say in, with a grain of salt because their views are just that, a lens from their own life experiences and morals, they aren’t yours. Listen but go out and learn, try and source for yourself, instead of blindly following someone else’s way, make your own. Your perceptive is everything.
In the professional world, they use the phrase industry standards, norm or normal. Normal is what everyone else is doing, so doing the standard, you get standard results. If you want to be different or have extraordinary results, you have to break outside of the norm and other peoples views of the world.
There are many people out there willing to give you their advice and tell you what to do, how to do it and what you need. When you get this advice it’s important as a photographer and artist to know what to take on board and what to leave behind. Consider the advice and come to your own conclusion that is best for you. Be yourself, because you can’t be anyone else.
- How to shoot minimalist photos – PetaPixel.com
- Internet addition is killing your photography – DigitalRev.com
- Have I finally found the perfect camera? – DIYPhotography.net
- Are you a photographer or, just a camera operator – PetaPixel.com
- Why I got rid of my photography gear – PetaPixel.com
- Finding style and voice in photography Leica.com
- Use deliberate practice to find your photographic style – PetaPixel.com
- Why I only use one lens – PetaPixel.com
- Camera fundamentals
- 10 ways to develop your photographic style
- Deliberate style
- The number one challenge
- Deliberate practice
- Foster your passion