Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone praised your photography skills, suggesting you become a professional photographer? It’s an exciting moment, and many of us jump into the world of photography with dreams of capturing breathtaking images and building a successful career. But, as you venture into this realm, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of options and advice, often leading to scattered imitation rather than true innovation.
The Scattered Imitators
So, you decide to take the plunge and invest in high-end camera gear. You start following countless photography blogs and watching endless YouTube tutorials, hoping to absorb as much knowledge as possible. Every week, you may find yourself wanting to be like this photographer for their style, that photographer for their lighting technique, or another for their choice of gear. The constant learning is valuable, but it can lead to a common pitfall: becoming a scattered imitator.
The Quest for Direction
The problem with this approach is that if we continue in this direction, we may never discover our unique identity as photographers. Every respected photographer is known for something distinct. So, the question we all face in our careers is: What do we want to be known for?
The Two Crucial Questions
To find your direction in photography, start by asking yourself two fundamental questions:
1. What Photography Makes You Lose Track of Time?
Think about the kind of photography that engrosses you so much that hours fly by unnoticed. There are jobs that drain you, leaving you exhausted, and others that invigorate you, leaving you pumped and energized. Choose the work that you love, the work that gives you back energy rather than draining it.
2. Who Are Your Photography Heroes?
Consider the photographers whose work resonates deeply with you. Whose photography makes your heart ache with a desire to create something similar? Your heroes can provide valuable insights into your photography direction.
Discovering Your Path
For example, if you find that you’re drawn to people photography and narrative-driven stories, then you’ve already uncovered a significant part of your photographic identity. This realization is a crucial first step in defining your direction.
Long-Term Goals and Building Your Portfolio
Remember, finding your photography direction is a long-term goal, not an overnight achievement. Start by creating a mood board with images that inspire you and identify common themes. Keep this board within reach for regular inspiration.
Next, invest your time and resources in shooting the work you love, even if it doesn’t pay the bills initially. Build an online portfolio that showcases the type of photography you want to pursue. No one will hire you for a style they can’t see you excel in.
The Realistic Perspective
While you may not exclusively shoot what you love in the beginning, the goal is to gradually transition into doing more of the work that excites you and pays your bills. It’s a journey, and few photographers reach a point where they only shoot what they love. However, having a clear direction and working towards it is a rewarding endeavor.
The path to finding your photography direction is a personal and ongoing journey. By asking yourself the right questions, creating a mood board, and actively pursuing the work you love, you can set yourself on a path towards becoming a true innovator in your chosen niche. Remember, it’s worth taking risks to fill your spare hours with photography that ignites your passion and creativity.