Lacking Substance

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by tevo, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. tevo

    tevo Recovering TPF Junkie Supporting Member

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    At this point I can't tell if I'm simply used to my own shooting style and that they aren't interesting to me, or if I am truly unsatisfied with them. I am also unsure how other people like them- those who I showed my sports portfolio to seemed to be very impressed by it, and clients have loved what I delivered to them in the past. I just don't know.

    Photography is definitely what I was put on this earth to do. It is the one thing I have consistently come back to, and can do all day without checking my watch. I am just in need of a refresher. As for the wedding, I had a previous mental block/fear of shooting weddings which is why I prepared so thoroughly.




    I think I'm looking to explore the areas of photography as emotional/artistic expression, rather than capturing moments (i.e. Sports, Weddings). However, I need to make money, and that will likely be in the wedding business. Weddings are uncharted territory for me as well, so...

    I have a lot to learn. I think this is the universe's means of a wake up call, reminding me that I don't know nearly as much as I think I do & pushing me to learn more.


     
  2. table1349

    table1349 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Something that struck me in your original post was "my photos lack true expression of my emotion or views." Perhaps you should explore seeing the potential photo subject for the view, emotion, etc that it presents, not just you emotions or views. Learn to see and read a scene and capture what it gives you. One way to do this is through the details such as deciding the best location, angle, aperture, shutter speed etc. to capture that scene. That is were your perspective can, depending on what you are shooting, can come into play. Often it is the details that take a good photograph to a great photograph. This can especially be true in areas such as portraiture.

    Personally I find very little wonder in photography. I find wonder in the world and strive to capture that vast wonder that is always there and often not recorded.
     
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  3. camz

    camz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You should assist or work with a pro to get rid of that plateau broski.

    TEV speaking from a portrait perspective, to bring out real emotion you have to think like a movie director. I know we are for the most part photographers here in this forum, but to bring out real identity or emotions from your subjects is to let them move like humeans and never have them stationary posed while you document. If you're photographing a kissing sequence between a couple have them start from 2 feet apart and let them approach each other other for the kiss while you shoot. It looks more real it looks more genuine. Oppossed to "Stay there, kiss, hold it hold it, let me shoot this...hold on didn't get it hold it hold it *click click click*. They will look like robots when they are holding a pose therefore it wouldn't look natural at all. My advice to to have your subjects move, it could be a kiss, to a smile, to a hug, a nose to nose.

    Best subjects I've ever shot are models - these gals constantly move, dance, sprawl, walk, turn to a point where it's over acted at times but man it flows and it looks natural.
     
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  4. FanBoy

    FanBoy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Think about what you like to shoot; you can be influenced by others' work but don't necessarily go by the rules--it will (and has to) come naturally, like any other art. As you stumble upon your composition you will "see" it and work it.
     
  5. amolitor

    amolitor TPF Noob!

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    There is a definite process to inspiration, this article might be of interest to you:

    Annals of Science: The Eureka Hunt : The New Yorker

    contains almost but not quite step by step instructions for generating Eureka Moments in ones brain.

    ETA: They seem to have it behind a paywall. Sorry. I will try to summarize it a bit later one, gotta run and get this kid in bed now.

    ETA2: So here's how inspiration works:

    1) Think furiously about the problem.
    2) Gather relevant information, data, ideas, etc etc.

    Run around and around on 1) and 2) for a while. Fill your brain up with your thoughts on the problem, and on material that might be relevant to solving it. Now move on to:

    3) relax, let the mind drift. Take a shower, take a walk, take a nap. Consciously walk away from the problem for a bit.
    4) gently, ever so gently, gnaw on the problem a little.

    Hang around in the 3)/4) zone for a while. A few hours, a few days. Sometimes just a few minutes. If no "EUREKA!" moment occurs, return to steps 1) and 2). What you're doing is filling your brain up with raw material in steps 1 and 2, and then letting your unconscious mind gnaw on it, doing a massive parallel computation, in steps 3 and 4. If you draw a blank, return to 1 and 2 and dump in more grist for the mill.

    There are pretty firm neurological bases for this process. It works. Or rather, nothing else works, but this might.

    What this might translate into for you is to alternate:

    1) worrying about how to make a really GOOD and INTERESTING picture or set of pictures.
    2a) looking at other people's pictures and reading other people's writing about how the approach making pictures.
    2b) looking at the world of thing you could take pictures of, and things you might want your pictures to say, mean, show, reveal, comment on, etc.

    alternated with:

    3) nap/shower/walk
    4) gently think 'hmm, what kind of a picture should I take?'

    If you're lucky, you'll be thinking of something else and it will suddenly hit you what you ought to be doing with the camera.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
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  6. manicmike

    manicmike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    When I need inspiration for anything, whether it be writing, drawing, etc., I look at other people's work and use that as kind of the base of my brainstorming session.
     
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  7. amolitor

    amolitor TPF Noob!

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    One item I forgot, as I recall, it might actually be important to work steps 1/2 until you get "stuck". You have to hit some kind of frustration wall and bang on it for a while, or ideally you do, before moving on to the relaxing and letting it go for a while. I forget the details, but I am pretty sure that's a piece of the puzzle.
     
  8. mishele

    mishele Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That right there. I search through tons of photos/art to find inspiration. The more I see, the more ideas I have tucked away for later. I might not use them right away. I don't know about other people but my ideas end up rolling like a snowball. =) It starts with just a tiny little reference from someone's work and slowly grows and grows. Exciting when it works! When it doesn't, at least you went through the thinking process. =)
     
  9. rexbobcat

    rexbobcat Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Lol I really wish I was like that.

    I tend to get faux-inspired when I flood myself with others' work. Like, I begin to think that I have all these great ideas, but in actuality I just wish to copy a photo I saw two weeks ago even if I don't immediately realize it.

    And then I get dad because it feels like I don't have any good ideas of my own

    I generally do my best stuff when I don't look at any other work for extended periods of time, heh.

    But then again, I'm a people-pleaser so it's difficult sometimes for me to stay "true" to myself instead of trying to make stuff all my Facebook friends will like. I think I have a natural tendency to want to sell out, even if that's not REALLY what I want. :p

    Basically my advice for getting out of a rut is walking away from it. Don't look at gear, others' photos, your own photos, or anything for a while. This might not be wholly possible if you make your living from photography, but try to make arm effort to at least distance yourself from others' work for a bit. That night help you to formulate substantial concepts because you aren't putting yourself through the constant bombardment of the creativity of others.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  10. peter27

    peter27 TPF Noob!

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    When I find things drying up, I let the field lie fallow for a while and get on with other things.
     
  11. mmaria

    mmaria Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    me too
     
  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Plateau's are almost necessary; they allow you to refine your craft through practice and repetition, and then after a time, you are prepared for advancement. As you mentioned, what you've learned has been in high school; you have YEARS ahead of you in which to learn. Think of your photo career as if it were a plant; budding, blooming, decaying. You are truly in the budding stage; you have not yet even BEGUN to "blossom" or "bloom"--that's years in the future. You're still learning! You just shot your first-ever wedding, and your skill and experience can only move upward...so, while you might temporarily be on a plateau, you're just preparing for the NEXT LEG of a big, long ascent to the top of the mountain. Think of it as trying to climb Mount Everest...you do NOT just do it like it is a day-hike up some little hillock in the San Gabriel mountains...it's not a journey you can do in shorts and hiking boots and a T-shirt with 2 litres of water and five granola bars.
     
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