Today I try to tackle a slight problem that often afflicts photographers, namely the search for inspiration.
Often we find ourselves in a situation where we’re not sure what to photograph, we have no ideas, in short, we are in that gray area where we feel free from any desire to take pictures. Or we have some idea that hangs around, but we find it old and in need of a breath of fresh air (unless we are content to repeat the same things, there are people who reclines very easily on this, lucky them! : D).
In such cases it may be very useful to analyze the work of other photographers, especially the good ones, and try to steal them some ideas. This does not mean to copy the theme of the photo, but sometimes a simple new pose of a model, a lighting scheme, a particular type of postproduction, can help our mind to produce something new that gives us satisfaction.
You might be thinking, “Well nothing new..”, and you are right .. since the world began the man watched the work of those who are better than us and try to copy it (even unintentionally). However what I want to emphasize in this article is that it can sometimes be useful to try to change the point of view from which you look at the photos: If you looked at just the posing of the model, try to analyze the light that has been used, if were used one or more flash or only the natural light .. At that point, you can also answer questions like: if there are flash, how they were used? with hard light? with soft light? In this case, we know if it was used an umbrella, a softbox, an octabox? and from the shadows we can understand how great this light source and how close it was? Gels were used? Or if one was used to focus on these details, maybe it could be useful to analyze the pose of the model, so that you can use for future shooting. Or we can analyze the balance of the image, if it is tending to monochrome (even in a veiled way), or the colors are saturated, the composition.. aspects are so many!
However one of the problems that occurs most often is that the world now gives us too much material to be analyzed .. In fact, everyone can start to think “just look a bit at Flickr and 500px and you will find something.” I agree completely, but now I have pretty much abandoned these two photo social networks (then, do not talk to me about Instagram, which I hate.. all photos square equal, with the same aging effects applied .. if you like it, well for you, but I have not even installed on the iPhone 😀 ) because the choice is really too broad, and to find something nice you have to look for hours, in the midst of useless material and photos that for the author will also be important (I do not doubt it), but that have little artistic value. There is the Flickr Explore I know, but too often useless photos are rewarded, just because the author has managed to get millions of comments and likes because he/she has millions of friends.
You can understand then that it is easy to get lost in this vast sea offered by the web today. And that is why I write this article for you, to tell you how I face the problem. First of all, in my opinion one must be guided by looking at excellence, those who excel in the field that inspires us. And to know the names of those who have a style that we like there are a number of ways. The first is to keep an eye on sites like 1x, where only a few photos a day are allowed to enter, and these pictures must pass a fierce selection (personally I was able to publish only two photos on that site, and it was a great satisfaction 🙂 ). Find everything from portraits settled, those in the study, those with heavy postproduction, those with virtually no postproduction, from landscapes to macro. Whatever your field is, you almost certainly will find material that you will love. At this point you can further research on the internet of the authors of the photos that you liked, and try to understand as much as possible from their portfolio.
Another way to find inspiration is to look for sites where someone has already made a selection of his favorite artists, and if by chance you share the tastes of this person, you have centered! You will already have a good database of photographers to inspire you! An example would be the one made by Phlearn in his section Inspirational Photographers. Personally I do not appreciate all the photographers linked on that page, but exploring it I found some new names I did not know who gave me great ideas. Or standing in the little, if you go on the websites of photographers who you appreciate, typically there will be a page called Links in which these will provide the link to the photographers who they love (and so consequently you might appreciate too). In my case I wanted to do it by putting them on the side on the blog, right here on your right in the blogroll.
Finally, one of the methods I appreciate most, is the one based on the paper. Especially if you are portrait photographers (or fashion photographer), it is very easy to get free (even high-level) stuff. You can simply walk into any store that sells clothing and take one of the booklets with the collection of that period. The are free, often high-level, renovated 3 or 4 times a year, and they can provide many ideas! Or (always to stay within the free and without spending one euro), if you have a girlfriend/wife (or boyfriend/husband if you are a woman, though perhapsit is a bit more improbable! 😀 ) who reads fashion magazines once that she/he has finished (always ask for permission, I do not want to give rise to marital disputes!) you can rip the pages with the publicity photos that inspire you the most and put them all together, so you have a paper database!
Everyone then has his own methods, but I wanted to tell you mine, so maybe someone who is new to this topic can start collecting material, and instead someone who already has a good database of photos to inspire may want to look at them under another point of view, and analyze the elements that he didn’t considered previously!
What do you think about it? Which are your methods? Write it down below in the comments section!