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Advice For The New Artist/Photographer

A few years back I created a blog post giving the advice that was giving to me when I was just starting out . Due to my site crash this post was lost and I found myself thinking , these words of wisdom did they need to be shared again ? Or do I need to share my own nuggets of wisdom one learns over time ?. Ive been asking myself this daily for the last week and decided wisdom nuggets it was to be {or my two cents , brain farts  etc you choose the terminology you like } , and rather then it be a copious list of the do’s n don’t’s  3 key points should cover it .

1} DONT BE A GEAR W*#$% !

Ooops yes I said it !!  {If your unfamiliar with the term click here  } this one a double edge sword of sorts there a definitely gear you will need to have based on the genre of photography you wish to follow , such as landscape you need the wide angle portrait is about the F stop wildlife it’s the zoom but there is a monumental difference between a want & a need . As a person who has worked on the photographic retail sector this person the ‘GW’ was at least a daily encounter {one particular is burned into my memory bank forever}  I’m sure most retailers love them because they spend big $$$  and if you have that kind of cash to burn more power to you.

However honestly ask yourself if you want it because good old Joe Blow uses this so you think by having  it your images will magically look like theirs ?, yes there was a hint of sarcasm there gear has very little to do it its just a small cog piece the hard truth is a lot of hard work , education & individualism makes that photographers image what it is simply owning the same gear won’t create the same quality or result. Or do you need it are you finding yourself limited with what you have ?.

The mistake we make is that we fail to remember  every 6 – 12 months , technology will always become outdated. And whenever we buy the newest whatever, we think it will be new, fast, and sexy forever , when in reality whenever you buy the newest , the first week or month it will be awesome, but sooner or later you’ll get “use to it” and revert to normal behaviour. The same goes with buying a new gear no matter how exciting your new camera or lens is, you will lose your lust/love after a few weeks then  before you know it the next shiny thing comes along. The secret is to be grateful for what we have, and only upgrade when we need to upgrade &  purchase what you need to get the job done.

Instead of going out & buying everything start out basic invest in quality not quantity until you figure out your own photography path , by doing this you’ll find over time that at the very least you’ll have a better understanding of what you actually need as opposed to what you think you need and save yourself some very expensive paper weights sitting around collecting dust.

2} FINDING YOUR OWN PATH  

The amount of information about photography out there can be overwhelming but to put it simply you have to know the rules before you can break them!, look into spending on well-rated workshops and educating yourself it’s no good having the gear if you haven’t the foggiest on how to use it to its full potential workshops , online & in person will greatly improve your images , skill , technique & confidence .

Never stop learning just as fast as technology changes so dose techniques theres always going to be something new to learn that can either streamline your work or be the keystone in evolving who you are as an artist. If you stop learning you will become complacent and find yourself in a creative rut quickly being left behind by your peers , I strongly and whole heartily can say the day I believe I have nothing more to learn I will pack it all up and call it a day.

Practice, Practice, Practice! Being a beginner is a ton of fun , and it only lasts for a little while. Take advantage of the fresh, unconventional perspective that your beginner’s mind  & hunger offers you , experiment with different types of photography all the time once you find something you like that make your heart skip that little bit faster & make that your focus. You’ll be surprised at how much faster you improve at something when you let go of the compulsive need to be the ‘Jack of all trades’ . Personally even though I’ve found my niche I still like to venture out of my comfort zone & experiment with different styles and in doing so I have become well aware of my short comings , I can tell you I will never make a living at food or sport photography I seriously suck at it . I only shoot wildlife for stock to use in my Art , I can create a completely satisfactory stand alone image of wildlife but I became quickly turned off from it after an incident I like to call ‘Seagull Gate”  with a fellow photographer which leads me to my next point .

3} CREATIVITY & INDIVIDUALISM

In the age of the internet and social media it seems at least once a week you will encounter a photographer sending out the Bat signal to the keyboard army to take up hunting down a copycat fighting the injustice of it. When the hard truth is you can’t copyright a concept this dose not mean I’m saying go copy that artists image that lets be honest is annoying as hell and to most they frankly find it disheartening their blood sweat & tears have gone into that images concept to only see it reproduced or worse flat out stolen !. Trust me when I say there can be cases where direct similarity is purely a coincidence i.e. ‘Seagull Gate’ , and there is the artists that truly not to mind at all to “inspire” {I try to fall into this category } oh & lets not forget that whole debate of is there such a thing as a truly unique idea/concept I’m sure if you look hard enough someone somewhere done something similar once upon a time .

So how can you become that stand out  for creativity & individualism ? This is where I turn deep on you,  becoming self aware of who you are not as the artist/photographer but YOU as a person !.  The life experiences , hard knocks  , dreams and how you see the world make up who you are . That philosophical inquiry of ‘YOU’ now takes on a great importance in your creativity process if you look into that image you’re trying to emulate ask yourself why . If you take the time to identify and reflect on the aspects of the image thats speaking to you , you might find

  • it’s the technique
  • their use of layers & textures
  • the storytelling
  • or very well could be the concept

Once you’ve realised your fascination with the image you can move on to drawing upon your own perspective and how you can incorporate those elements into your own work and before you know it your well on your way to your own individualistic creative thinking  .

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