When I started photography nine years ago, I didn’t have a problem going out and finding inspiration. Everything was so new and, subsequently, there seemed to be no end to the ideas I felt I could produce. Looking back, I can see that my work wasn’t particularly indistinguishable from many others—there was no depth, no originality.
But I needed to get through certain stages to get to where I am today. At first I had no particular style, nor did I have any photographic ‘heroes’ to aspire to, but over time and with an accumulation of experience, I connected with capturing natural street scenes in an artistic way and translated that approach to my wedding photography, which I had begun six years ago.
There came a point, though, where all I had photographed were weddings, which resulted in me feeling a creative staleness. I started looking at my images and wondering whether I was losing my edge. Were my shots becoming predictable? Was I replicating work I’ve seen, or work I’ve already done? In other words, was I restricting my photographic potential by focusing solely on weddings and the self-imposed restrictions that come with the day?
So I came up with a plan to change this. Since then I’ve felt completely invigorated, and the change has helped me produce some of my best work, which has since featured in a few publications. Here are 5 ways I suggest to achieve this.
Go out and shoot with an experienced photographer, preferably for an extended period of time
Whether it was at a wedding or when I’ve been out on my travels, I’ve always photographed alone. This has helped me feel unobtrusive, but I began to wonder how much I could improve if I had someone with me to bounce ideas off and critique the way I shoot. Perhaps an outside influence could help shake things up a bit, and get me thinking differently.
Sportsmen and women do it all the time—they link up with experienced coaches who get the best out of them and help them reach the next level. If you look at Roger Federer or Tiger Woods, who were the best in their respective sports for a long time, they didn’t get there on natural talent alone, but spent countless hours with coaches honing their technique.