Feel like I've hit a brick wall in my photography, advice needed

Started Dec 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
CharlesB58 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,308
Re: Feel like I've hit a brick wall in my photography, advice needed

Sovern wrote:

Hi, I've only been shooting for about 6 months now but I feel like I've hit a brick wall in my photography. Are there any experienced photographers on here that have any advice for overcoming these obstacles specifically related to portrait photography? I just made a flickr with what I consider my best photographs taken over the past 6 months and as much as I love photography, I also love improving. If anyone can point out some consistent flaws in my photography I'd really appreciate it.
I think that part of the problem is that I've been shooting with the same model throughout most of the months and most of the same bland locations. Do you think that finding new models with different traits and shooting at new locations and just letting your creative side take over while being mindful of good technique, composition, and lighting would overcome this wall?
Heres my photography: http://www.flickr.com/photos/90972815@N08/
Thanks for taking the time to read my thread and take a look at my photos and all the best.

Photography and writing both have a commonality in that at first, what we produce in either is very derivative of what inspired us to pursue the craft. In writing, it's very important to connect with one's own "voice" rather than write in someone else's "voice". What this means is discovering where and how to separate yourself from the work of others who influences you so you put all those influences together in a unique, yet not derivative, way.

Photography is the same. Your photos look like you got into photography inspired by typical senior/portrait/mainstream fashion work that is, as mentioned, so dated as to be trite in the eyes of some. That's ok. Nearly everyone starts out in photography trying to emulate the photos that led them to pick up a camera. While many remain satisfied copying the styles of others their entire photographic journey, others reach a point where doing this grows less and less fulfilling. Perhaps that is the wall you are talking about? You may be facing the frustration of recognizing that your photos don't really portray what you want them to personally, so much as demonstrate you can copy someone else's style and technique.

So the time has come to stop thinking in terms of how you can make your photos look like the ones that inspired you to get into photography, and explore how your photos can be ones that express your own "vision". A lot of the advice others have offered is geared toward that end, even if they don't say it as such. One thing I haven't seen is the advice of asking yourself what you really want your photos to do for you and for others. What sort of photo taken by you would make you look at it and think "AHA!"-as in the handful of truly great photos Tom mention he gets from all the ones he makes a year.

The bottom line is that yes indeed, studying technique, studying the work of other photographers, practicing, always looking at the world and thinking in terms of light, shadow, color, et al, thinking how would that look as a photo: all these things are necessary, but they don't go anywhere until you answer the question "What sort of photo will tell the world who I am?" The cool thing is, the answer to that question will evolve over the years, so good photographers constantly ask it again and again.

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Some people operate cameras. Others use them to create images. There is a difference.

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