‘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