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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Are we taking it all a little too seriously?

Taking a few weeks off gave me a chance to read a few photo blogs, take a look at a few photo forums and just generally do some photo reading that I don't generally have time for.

And after a bit of perusing I came away with the overwhelming feeling that there's a lot of really anxious photographers out there.

Sure there's the obvious ones who are turning pro and worried about how to get work. But there's a huge number of amateurs out there who are fretting and gnawing their fingernails about things such as their vision.

I often tell my students that once you attain a certain level of technical proficiency - ie you get stuff in focus when you want to, use the aperture you want to get the effect you imagined and get your exposure and composition good, well everything above that is kinda subjective.

It's art people. It's meant to be subjective. Just because 100 people on Flickr tell you it's great doesn't make it so. Likewise just because that same 100 people might tell you it's crap doesn't make it so. It really is very subjective and at the end of the day the person you have to please more than any other is yourself.

When it comes to vision the simplest path to finding your own is to know yourself. Understand what you really love to photograph and how you like your images to look. You don't need to box yourself into any one particular style though. Musicians, painters, poets. They all change their style over the course of their lives. Why should photographers be any different?

My advice? Get as good as you want technically and once you've got that down then go out and shoot whatever takes your fancy. And I mean whatever. Don't think about whether it's right or wrong, good or bad. Just photograph it and if it's fun, if it makes you happy - well keep on photographing it. If it doesn't then stop and find something else. One of the worst questions I get asked is "what should I photograph?". If you don't know that then you've got a lot bigger problems then finding your vision!

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