View­point

Amateur Photographer - - 7days - Claire Gillo Claire Gillo is a pho­tog­ra­pher and writer based in the South West, and has worked for a num­ber of years across a va­ri­ety of pho­tog­ra­phy mag­a­zines. Fol­low her Face­book page at www.face­book.com/ Clairegillopho­tog­ra­phy or In­sta­gram www. in­sta­gra

‘Next time I’m on a shoot I’m go­ing to push it that bit fur­ther... Just think of the re­ward’

Hands up how many of you read­ing this ar­ti­cle own a cam­era. Yes? Well it’s a pretty easy ques­tion given you’re read­ing a pho­tog­ra­phy mag­a­zine, but even if I went and asked this ques­tion on the street the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple would an­swer yes.

We live in an age where we can shoot hun­dreds, even thou­sands, of im­ages if you’re trig­ger happy, on a daily ba­sis. Click, click, click, click, click, and we don’t even need to worry about cost. Mo­bile phones have greatly changed the course of the medium, and on a global scale we col­lec­tively shoot tril­lions – that’s right, tril­lions – of dig­i­tal pho­to­graphs every year. Mo­bile phones are ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing high-qual­ity re­sults, just look at pho­tog­ra­phers such as Jo Brad­ford (www. greenis­land­stu­dios.co.uk). In this dig­i­tal age Jo proves you don’t need loads of fancy kit to pro­duce some amaz­ing imagery, and she also runs a suc­cess­ful busi­ness off the back of it.

So when you next go out on a shoot how do you make sure your im­age stands out from the tril­lions of oth­ers? How do you get your im­ages pub­lished in the likes of pho­tog­ra­phy mag­a­zines, and at the top of the so­cial me­dia feeds? Good tech­ni­cal skills will get you no­ticed, and per­haps even a few ‘likes’ from your fel­low peers, but to take it to the next level I be­lieve that hav­ing some orig­i­nal­ity and find­ing your own style is key.

I’m go­ing to come clean and ad­mit that I have been, and still am, guilty of im­i­tat­ing oth­ers. Hav­ing worked for years on a va­ri­ety of pho­tog­ra­phy mag­a­zines, at times I take the easy way out. Google has been my best friend. I’m not say­ing it doesn’t feel good to get those bucket-list land­scape shots un­der your belt, and re­cre­at­ing a shot from a mas­ter is cer­tainly a great way to learn your craft. But for me those im­ages feel some­what hol­low, and have now been filed away to a dusty old hard drive. Know­ing my im­age is a knock- off just makes me that bit less proud of it.

The im­por­tance of be­ing orig­i­nal. It sounds like an ob­vi­ous state­ment to make, but of­ten we get so caught up in fol­low­ing a trend and im­i­tat­ing oth­ers that we for­get to find our own path. I have no magic an­swer to find­ing orig­i­nal­ity and style, as I be­lieve it’s some­thing you have to grow and nur­ture over years. I’m still find­ing my way, and each year I be­lieve I am be­com­ing a bet­ter pho­tog­ra­pher. So next time I’m on a shoot I’m go­ing to push it that bit fur­ther, and hike those ex­tra steps to get that land­scape scene, plan for longer on that por­trait shoot, research more in depth for that wildlife shot, and doc­u­ment longer on the street. Just think of the re­ward. You’ll know you’ve nailed it and found your way when peo­ple start im­i­tat­ing what you do.

From my pro­ject ‘The Dead Col­lec­tion’. I am fas­ci­nated with death and its re­la­tion­ship with pho­tog­ra­phy

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