Why We Take Photos
Photography in itself is extremely personal. Most of the time we are out to share with others what we see. Maybe we saw something amazing, or something unique, or a smile from our grumpy uncle. We capture these things because something about them stood out to us. Either it reminded us of something or it told a short story about something. Or we just thought something was pretty!
Over time we become more technically proficient and the quality of our images improve. Our subjects don’t change much, but our images do.
Getting Lost in Photography: How to Re-Find Yourself
Then, one day, someone may ask if you can take photos for them and they’re willing to pay you. And then more people ask, and then more and soon you’re taking photos and getting paid!
And that’s when you start getting lost. You spend so much time taking photos for others and not for yourself. At this point it is crucial that you find yourself in your photography.
The best thing to do here is to spend a few hours selecting your favorite images from the past year or so and really look at them. Here are some things you should look for.
- What is it you most like to photograph? Are most of the photos you chose landscapes, or macros, or portraits or events? Do you take a lot of photos of people but are most happy taking nature photos? Are you spending a lot of time taking photos of newborns, but actually prefer doing engagement sessions?
- What are your tendencies? When given an option do you prefer getting a wide shot or do you prefer getting nice and close? Do you like getting the whole scene in focus or do you prefer isolating your subject? Do you prefer taking photos from low angles, head on or from the side? Do you like capturing a full scene or waiting for a specific moment? Are you more drawn to nature backgrounds or urban?
- What are your preferred lenses? When you prepare yourself for a session what is the lens you always pack first? If you could only own one lens which would it be? Do you prefer using a zoom lens or prime lenses? Do you have a preferred focal length?
- Why do you shoot the way you do? Do you find it more comfortable shooting from a distance or being in the middle of the action? How did you come up with your go to shots? From memories, inspiration, or instruction? Do you like taking a lot of photos “playing it safe”? Or do you like to think, compose and then shoot? Do you prefer taking photos where you have a lot of time to work with or do you prefer a steady pace?
- Editing trends change over time, but why do you edit the way you do? Do you like to keep things looking natural and candid? Do you like adding filters and effects to make your images pop? Do you prefer bolder colors and good contrast? Are you an all color photographer or do you also enjoy black and white photos? If a new trend started would you follow it or keep your style?
- What makes your photography unique? One word answer. You!!
Should you build your photography around your uniqueness?
Yes, of course. Stick to your passions and your strengths! Don’t do weddings just because you think the money is there if you like senior portrait photography more. There are many photographers who make over $1,000 per senior session.
Showcase your best photos on your website that tell a story of your style and vision. Charge what you’re worth!
You’re not like the other dozen photographers out there trying to be like the photographer up the street. If your style is different embrace it!
Value your work and others will value it as well.
I hope some of these suggestions are helpful to you finding yourself in your photography. We sometimes get so busy taking photos that we forget our place in it.
Tomas Haran is a custom portrait and wedding photographer based out of Worcester, Massachusetts. You can find him on his website or his blog.