I quit!

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by That One Guy, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. That One Guy

    That One Guy TPF Noob!

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    I am so sick of what I do (cookie cutter portraits). My photos are crap. My post work is crap. My artistic thinking has went to hell. I spend my "off" time reading and re-reading books on lighting ratios, poses, technical books, etc. During a portrait session I am thinking about lighting ratios and technical stuff, not how to make the photo more artistic. I feel that I am held prisoner in my studio and the rules of portrait photography are the guards. My technique has not improved in the last 2 years. Almost all of the photos I have posted on here are test shots that I have thought about keeping because who wants to see another portrait studio portrait? They are BORING!!! I haven't picked up my camera in 3 weeks out of fear that I will just churn out another boring, lifeless, portrait.

    I have tried different things in the studio. Using one light, different lighting angles, etc. All still boring.

    I see photos from some of my fav photogs on here like:
    Abraxas, Craig, Michael Law, Rick Waldroup, Tempra, just to name a few, and I think "why can't I do something like that?".

    I live in a small town of about 50,000. Our city is known for it's architecture, but I can't bring myself to photograph a building. It just doesn't appeal to me. I like photographing people, they are strange animals but I can't capture them in their true form in the studio.

    My photos don't stand out from the pack. They are the usual stuff you can get at any portrait studio. No one will see a portrait, that I have done, and know that I did it. They have to ask "who did your portrait?" and the response is "Um, I don't know. That one guy".

    I know this post is rambling and I probably didn't get my feelings out the way I wanted to but I am in a sort of meltdown stage right now.
    I need to break out of the box or sell my stuff (not kidding).
     
  2. I have nothing constructive for you, just a note that I have known the feeling. It is frustrating, and debilitating.

    Keep at it, usually that place you're at is the last exit before new inspiration.
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Creative block? Putting down the camera for a few months may work. Unless you rely on it for your income...
     
  4. Antarctican

    Antarctican TPF Noob!

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    If people portraits are your thing, and you don't like the studio environment, how 'bout snagging a prime table at a sidewalk cafe, arming yourself with a long lens, and trying to 'capture' people walking by, window shopping, sitting nearby etc? Couples arguing, people in animated discussions, the lonely, the homeless, people having fun, kids playing or acting up etc etc.
     
  5. D-50

    D-50 TPF Noob!

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    Grab you camera and head outside, force yourself to go shoot anything else. I think we ahve all been in a situation where we hit a wall you have to push through it. One great shot can turn your thinking around immediately
     
  6. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OK, you've been practicing and now you have gone about as far as you can with what you have been doing, Pack your Ax and a handkerchief and take them on the ROAD!

    Really! IF you have great Architecture to use, use it for a back drop. Whatever. Get your subjects out and off the stool and let them live!

    Isn't this what you are looking for anyway? For your subjects to have some life in your portraiture?

    If you can't get out then go for a white backdrop with them in light clothes, play some good dance music and let them dance, laugh, -get a fan and let the wind play in their hair. If there are two or more let them hug or kiss (the look just before the kiss is where you want to live ;)).

    Crack jokes, interact with them, if they are static then you might as well be shooting a corpse.

    OK, I'll shut up now, but you do see my point I hope.

    Good luck.
     
  7. patrickt

    patrickt TPF Noob!

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    When I'm stuck I pick a theme that isn't something I usually do. It gets me moving.
     
  8. spiffybeth

    spiffybeth TPF Noob!

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    for what reason do only shoot people in the studio?
     
  9. That One Guy

    That One Guy TPF Noob!

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    Thank you. You are also one of my fav photogs on here. I hope that I do get new inspiration.

    No it isn't my sole income. I used to be a musician. I hit a wall with music and planned on putting the guitar down for a few months and starting over. I haven't picked up the guitar in 4 years. I'm afraid that may happen here and I don't want it to. Thank you though.

    This is a good idea. Honestly, I hadn't thought about this. Thank you :)


    I agree that heading outside is what I should do. Thank you.

    Thank you. Very good suggestions you gave :)

    Knowing that I am not the first to go through this helps alot. Everyone so far has given me some good suggestions. That's why I posted here first before doing something drastic. I knew that the fine folks at TPF could shed new light on an old situation.

    I guess I will sort of be a newbie again :)
     
  10. Emerana

    Emerana TPF Noob!

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    Ditch the studio and focus on semi-candid portraits in more natural setting? Ditch the lights and devote yourself to working natural light. I think it could be alot of fun for you.
     
  11. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Admitting you have a problem is the first step... Seriously; I have been there before and I trust everyone has as well. Your approach from this point on is very personal. Some put down the camera some give themselves assignments. Personally I look at paintings or other mediums besides photography. What ever you choose you will realize that this is a turning point. Soon everything that you have learned will come together to form your own personal style. May not happen tomorrow, but it will happen.

    Most importantly do not sell your gear man! We all know you are to GOOD for that!

    Love & Bass
     
  12. That One Guy

    That One Guy TPF Noob!

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    Thank you Craig. It means alot coming from you.

    This may be a blessing in disguise after all :)
     

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