BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Jagadeesh Andrew Owens


Well, you know what they say.. "Do what you love and the money will follow." and I would like to believe it. I don't really care about making money with my photography, but what I DO care about is being original and creative and all that jazz. I have no problems with this in other media I work in (I'm a classically trained pianist, sculpter, painter) but when it comes to photography, I'm at a loss. On the rare occasion when I do seem to have an original idea, it's already been done. In fact, I would dare say, EVERYTHING's already been done, shot, photoshopped when it comes to photography. How do we keep it fresh and alive and constantly evolving? I look at great shots every day on this site for inspiration, but besides that, and of course shooting what you love, what else can one do?Any inspiration would be greatly appreciated.

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4/24/2006 11:12:04 AM

Michael H. Cothran   Believe me, if it were only so simple as doing what we loved for the money to follow, you know we'd ALL be filthy rich. So, first of all, forget that old adage.
Secondly, I doubt too, if there is a square inch of earth that has not yet been photographed, or a creative idea yet to be done. There's a gazillion people in the world today that own cameras capable of producing excellent images. So big deal! What difference does that make? Do you enjoy using your camera?? If so, just shoot. Who cares if someone else has already done it. Enjoy the medium, and aim it at subjects you enjoy photographing. Forget about anything else.
How do you keep Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin "fresh and alive?" Just because someone else has played through the Well Tempered Clavier, all the Beethoven Sonatas, and all that Chopin has written, doesn't mean that you still can't enjoy playing them yourself.
Just use your camera, and enjoy what you do with it, and don't worry about being some self-proclaimed, self-anointed "artist" who only works with completely new, original, and creative ideas. Just be a "photographer" for a while. If you don't get enjoyment out of just using your camera, you may not have the passion for photography that you think you do.
I too, am a formally trained musician - Bachelor's in Music Theory, and Masters in Music Ed. When it comes to photography, I am not so much at being 'original' or 'creativity,' but I certainly enjoy 'finding' photographs anywhere. And often, once found, the creativity begins to flow naturally, and in directions I never thought of before the picture was found or taken. While inspiration can certainly come from viewing the photographs of others, there is a lot of inspiration (plus more fun) that comes from actually taking your camera out and using it.
Michael H. Cothran

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4/24/2006 11:58:38 AM

Jagadeesh Andrew Owens   Thanks for your thoughts, Michael. And don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE shooting. I take my camera with me everywhere I go. You compared it to the Well-Tempered Clavier, Beethoven, and Chopin. My problem is that yes, they are nice old friends to go and visit and keep your mind sharp and fingers loose, but they also build a foundation for composing your own original, never been nothin' in the world like it before works!! See where I'm going with this? I probably need to just loosen up and shoot as you said, as I'm a perfectionist and my own worst critic (or best). :-)

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4/24/2006 12:05:08 PM

Slim Brady 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/1/2006
  Take pictures of people. They will love their photos and it will feed your wallet and sense of being. The word of mouth will spread and you will get more work which in turn will force you to shoot more and creativity will fall into place. Seeing what others don't see will become your artistic focus and watch the wows fly. Your whole life will change and you'll see things in a different light. You need feedback and thats what you'll get, pushing you over the edge and into a different world. You can shoot flowers, landscapes and other things too, but don't spend to much time on that(unless you want to make a calendar).

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4/24/2006 12:43:22 PM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  There are billions of pictures that haven't been done! I can't remember how many expressions the human face can make but trust me when I say it is a lot. On top of that each person is different ... so each unique person can make a great photo-op that is special to somebody (maybe not everybody, but that's okay).

If your pictures tell a story then you'll find loads of great photo-ops. Each story can be exciting and fresh. Don't just focus on the visuals, think about the message too.

And you don't have to limit yourself to people. Just try to put meaning into your photos and I think you'll be surprised at what you can come up with.

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4/24/2006 3:16:11 PM

Judyann Plante
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2005
  I am reading this thread with great interest because I have been doing a lot of thinking about where I am going with all of this. I am a newcomer to photography, but for what it's worth, I am finding that what does it for me is being able to capture the unexpected.

While I greatly admire the work of many studio photographers, what excites me is the thrill of the catch. Whether it be an unique lighting situation, a fleeting expression on a face, or something more dramatic, like two birds beginning to fight just as I am about to shoot, it keeps me excited about what I am doing and looking for more. Which in turn, helps me to see the world in a whole different way.

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4/24/2006 6:28:15 PM

Mike Rubin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/15/2004
  Treat it like your painting, when you take a shot, YOU determine the composition,exposure etc.., It is how you see the subject. No matter how many times an image has been taken there is always something different - KEEP SHOOTING!!! - Mike

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4/24/2006 6:28:42 PM

Jagadeesh Andrew Owens   Thanks all, fory your suggestions! If you saw my other post, you'll know that my shooting days almost ended yesterday when I dropped my camera! It's ok, thank God....

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4/25/2006 2:39:01 PM

Jagadeesh Andrew Owens   Thanks all, fory your suggestions! If you saw my other post, you'll know that my shooting days almost ended yesterday when I dropped my camera! It's ok, thank God....

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4/25/2006 2:48:56 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  As a rule, money seems to seek out and embrace excellence...regardless of the endeavor. (Just ask Tiger Woods or Peyton Manning if you think I'm kidding.)

As to "everything being shot already", that's not always true. If you send a group of people with acute photographic vision into a given setting to shoot a particular scene, you should get as many different versions of that scene as there are photographers participating.

Everyone's perspective should be unique.
If you perceive the scene as others do, your photos will mimic theirs.

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4/25/2006 4:16:27 PM

Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  Do what you love and don't worry about the money. If it follows, cool. But if you do what you love, the poverty ain't so bad.

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4/25/2006 6:20:39 PM

Paul Tobeck
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/19/2005
  I know the feeling of "being your own worst enemy" and "toughest critic". Our subconcious mind spends all day and all night trying to counteract every positive thought or creative spark we might have. I struggle every day to overcome the "what if"'s and the "you can't do that"'s. Your subconcious mind is trying to convince you that everything's been done before. Don't listen! What if Tony Sweet had thought that? Or Jeremy Sutton? My advice is to find one thing that you are passionate about and explore it from every possible angle, hell even throw in a few "impossible" angles! Or combine a couple of your passions together in a new way. Can you combine photography and sculpting? Photography and natural media painting combinations are all unique and individual, no matter how many people are doing it (Corel Painter is well worth checking out). Work that creative brain muscle and take a few risks. Being creative feeds the soul and is something we all need, now if we can just get out of our own way....

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4/25/2006 7:01:11 PM

Debbie Del Tejo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/30/2005
  That is why I love this site...Michael, your answer was so great and right on. When I go to photograph a place that has been photographed a lot, I always make myself a challange to come away with a different angle that may not have been seen by others. Photography is in your soul if you have the passion for it...there were a couple of deer in my yard last night and you thought I was a kid on a circus parade....the excitement I felt while photographing them was incredible to me, just plain old deer.
On the Nikon products, I have not shot with anything else since high school (70's) and I trust the product with all my heart.
This thread has been very nice to read this morning.

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4/26/2006 2:58:27 AM


BetterPhoto Member
  Hi Michal;

Yoseph Karsh once said " I wait for a natural moment. A smile, a smirk, a wink. Then, I take the picture. Just be yourself and do what you do. Enjoy it. BTW, Do you play any Handel?

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4/27/2006 7:23:57 PM

Slim Brady 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/1/2006
  "I am a newcomer to photography, but for what it's worth, I am finding that what does it for me is being able to capture the unexpected."

How about your shock expression when your online shopping basket value is more then your monthly living expense

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4/28/2006 9:02:09 PM

Patsy Diana  
I am new to this site, but I find this conversation very interesting. I have been posting my pictures on other contest sites and have yet to come any where near winning. The other photographers vote on the photographs. I realize there are many photographers out there who are much more educated than I am when it comes to the proper way to "set" the camera for a specific shot and understand the lingo. I only have to look in the book that came with my camera to find the settings for certain shots but sometimes I don't have the time to set the when something jumps into view and just as quickly could disappear...for instance a fast moving hail storm in an area that never sees them like Florida. So the best I can do at that time is on auto..shoot and hope. I have come up with decent shots but would like to do better. Thank you for letting me know others are like me and just enjoy shooting...but being good enough to win a prize or be printed in a local newspaper or being compensated in some way is a real confidence booster.

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4/29/2006 8:01:05 AM

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