GUILTY: I hate it but I’ve done it! Confession of Geelong photographer Sara Taylor
Looking through social media of late I am seeing alot of training workshops for photographers. Now I am all up for training, learning new skills and am even about to launch some amazing new workshops for 2018 myself but there is one thing that I just don’t get….and the worst thing is, I know when I was beginning my photography journey, I have been guilty of exactly what I am seeing now!
You ready? You have honest Sara back again so be prepared!!!
I feel really disappointed when I see other photographer’s social media streams filled with photos that look pretty close in similarity to the latest workshops I am seeing being advertised via the same medium. Harsh? Maybe it is, as I said I am all up for learning and self-development and still regularly attend and present workshops myself but hear me out, and then see if you agree. FYI it’s totally ok not to agree too!
Here is my reasoning… when I go to a workshop I am there to take bits and pieces of advice and learnings and then apply them in my own way, to my own work. I might go to a lighting workshop for example and walk away with a cool new lighting set up that I can then apply to my own style of photography. The thing that pushes me too far though is when I see photographers taking the same lighting AND posing AND styling AND post production AND locations as the workshop presenters…. so their images are EXACTLY EXACTLY THE SAME!
When I began my photography journey, I may have been guilty of this myself. Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but I did. You see when you begin putting your work out there to the public you are not really sure of what response you will get. There are these little voices in your head saying things like “what if they don’t like my photos” …. Nod your head right now if you are a starting your photography journey and you can connect with these thoughts so far? If you put out work the same as someone else then there is a higher chance of people ‘liking’ it – makes sense, doesn’t it? But here is the problem. Photography is an art, an interpretation of your view through the lens. How on earth are you interpreting anything from your own point of view when you are simply replicating someone else’s work? It just doesn’t make sense.
Like in any artform the artist themselves has personal experiences, personal skills, personal values and personal connections with their subjects. It seems to me that you are completely losing the authenticity of such when you are not creating your very own personal image to match your very own personal subjects based your very own personal experience and their very own personal characteristics! Sure, you can have a style, yes. Sure, you can have a photographic brand but surely you can also have your own identity and be simply you.
An example would be replicating exactly what you have been taught in a workshop – every tiny little piece (lighting, posing, styling, location, backdrop, lens etc etc etc). The workshop is teaching super Smile-y photographs in gorgeous frilly pink dresses. But your subject comes in and is a gorgeous little girl but a gorgeous little girl who never wears dresses and has a quite serious personality. So how is replicating the smile-y pretty girlie photos representing them and creating authentic imagery of this little lady? Pretty sure you can figure out it is not. So, you as the artist, as the photographer need to use your skills, knowledge to mold the photograph around your subject. To me, this is the real art.
Maybe this comes with experience and the confidence that comes with working with so many beautiful people over the years. Maybe it comes with experimenting lots and lots of styles, techniques and photoshoots. Maybe is comes with simply being comfortable with what you are creating and how you are photographing it. If you were to ask me, the reason we photograph, our WHY as such, all comes down to connection. (see my blog post here all about Connecting).
Connection between you the photographer, and subject first and foremost.
Connection between you the photographer, and your technique style and brand.
Connection between how your style and brand works with creating authentic images that truly showcase a little piece of your subjects’ soul.
Photographs that connect and capture the soul are what make timeless pieces of art for your home. They are handed down through generations and truly valued by families.
This connection can only happen though when we, the photographers, use a little piece of our soul to create these moments of magic through the lens and not through exact replication of another artists photographs.
Yours in all honestly,
PS If you are beginning your photography journey do yourself a favor and stop comparing yourself to others!
PSS If you are ready to take the next step of your photographing journey and want to take your photographs to the next level we have a two day workshop being released real soon where you will learn how to set up your own photographing business along with tapping into your own style and soul to create amazing images. Shoot us an email if you would like to know more x