Jun 2, 2010

Photographers: Shoot what you love! Exercise: find 5 Images you would DIE to have in your portfolio.

I love photographing in the outdoors, working with people and promoting an active and fit lifestyle. On occasion, I find dabbling in the world of architecture fascinating too.

Photographers - What do you love to shoot? 
Try this exercise:

1) Open five separate browser windows with five of your favorite photographers websites.
2) Save ONE image from each site that you would absolutely DIE to have in your portfolio.  Just one!
3) Create a collage of those five images, save it as a jpeg and send it to your phone, ipad, printer, desktop.
4) Study the photographs for 5-10 minutes each day and look for something new.  
-What emotion do you feel?
-Why do you connect with these images?
-What are some common themes across all of them (people, sports, products, food)?
-What interests you about the posing, lighting, camera angles and post-production?
-What would you change about the image?

Okay, I can already hear a number of you saying: "Ya, nice idea, but shouldn't I find my own vision and style?  I don't want to copy someone else's work." And while I completely AGREE with your thought process here, this is simply an exercise to help you find what it is you love about picking up the camera and taking pictures and deciding to pursue those interests.  What subject matter most intrigues you?  Do you know?  If every picture in your collage has a person in it, then why are you so bent on learning how to light and shoot inanimate products in a studio environment?   If the images promote fitness, sport and the outdoors, then why are you spending time and money learning how to promote your wedding photography business?  Vision comes from passion and this will help you visually see what it is you are passionate about shooting.  You probably already know, but we can all use a reminder from time to time.  You may find that you can shoot a variety of subjects and that your five images are completely diverse and span everything from sports photography to pet photography, but I doubt that will be the case.  So the message is not to steal or copy, but rather to focus and develop your vision and style.  

5) DECIDE to develop your portfolio around what it is you love to shoot.  The type of work you put out is the type of work you'll be paid to shoot.
6) Repeat this process once a year.



Glyn Dewis said...

A great read Kevin, thanks.
Personally speaking this is 'kind of' the wort of thing i do on a fairly regular basis. I say kind of cos I keep a scrap book of images that I come across on a day to day basis and look through it from time to time for inspiration.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that it won't mean you copy someone else but will help to develop your own style.


jasonschafer said...

What a great idea. I'm definitely going to do this. Would love to hear other ideas and exercises like this one.