What is your WHY for Photography?

What is your WHY for Photography?

Have you ever thought about WHY you take photos? I mean there are literally 1000s , 10s of thousands of photos being taken every day, but what draws us in? There are millions of images out in the world - some are beautiful and technically perfect, amazing locations, cute kids and pets, stunning models, then there are the family snapshots and oh look, here’s what I had for breakfast/lunch/dinner/drinks or coffee shots.

There are just as many reasons why we as photographers, feel compelled to create these images. What motivates us to pick up our cameras every day (or near to it) to create these images. How often do you think about this, do you even think about this at all? Do you reflect back on the images you’ve taken and think about the reasons behind why you took the ones you did? Or do you just randomly burst them out and hope for the best? Have you ever thought about what motivates you to share your images? Whether it is Social Media or just family and friends.

Sure, we all like receiving the attention, the likes and hearts via social media but is that enough of a reason to create art? Shouldn’t there be more to it than just posting images for other people to like or not like? Shouldn’t we truly be shooting for ourselves, from our heart, from our own passion to capture and create the emotions and feelings that we saw, felt and heard at that moment we clicked the shutter button? Isn’t that what you want to share, the story of that moment? The light, the vista, the recipe, the petals, the shadows on a surface, the way a face showed every emotion flickering across its surface. Shouldn’t there be intention behind every image we capture? Sure not every photo will be technically perfect, but the intention should be.

Do you enter your images in contests of any kind, are you entering to please the judges or are you entering to win? Perhaps, the images you enter should be images that please YOU, which you are happy with and proud of, that tell your story, show your heart and soul and make those looking at them step back and think or feel something. You can have the most technically perfect image in the world but if there is no heart or passion behind it, it can still be flat and uninspiring. Pretty, but uninspiring.

Of course, we want people to like us and our work — that is only natural, we are geared that way. But shouldn’t we be creating art for ourselves, once we can do that, create our own true unique voice, that’s when others will feel the meaning of what we are creating, and we can then connect to our viewer on a deeper level. There are billions of technically perfect images out there but they don’t mean anything, they don’t tell a story, they have no feeling. They are just pretty pictures.

Of course, there are also the images that are NOT technically perfect, blurred, out of focus, poor composition, over processed and worse. Why do we keep them? Why do we share the not-so-perfect images? Mostly because they mean something, they tell the story of that moment, perfect or not. They help us save our memories of friends, family and places, and moments in time.

So, HOW do you stand out

Have you ever been out with a group and all taken the same shot? I know it is often really difficult not to want to capture the same amazing iconic photo, but at the end of the day they are all the same, If five of you took pretty much the same image, could you tell them apart? Where is the individuality, where is the creativity, where are the emotions and feelings in those images? What sets the images apart? You often need time to assess the location, look around to find a different perspective, find a different point of view.

I think it’s very important as a photographer and artist for viewers to be able to pick out your images from the crowd. To find the “you” in your images and recognize that as yours, in other words, your creative VOICE. Otherwise, we are all creating the same stuff… and for what? I realize photography means different things to different people, it’s therapy, a hobby, for some it’s our job, but for many it’s a creative outlet that we need to keep ourselves sane. Regardless of WHY we take photos, I still believe we should be working to create our own individual style and voice.

I honestly feel that when we shoot what we love, what we feel passionate about, others connect to it too, it resonates with them. People are drawn to our work, as they feel the creativity and passion, not necessarily the technical prowess, although there is often a mix of the two.