I want to tell you a story about a photographer that I know. I’m not going to include her name but this person has been on several of my workshops. This past year she took one of my flower photography workshops. I think it was on the next to the last day of the workshop; I was watching closely as she collected one nice image after another.
All week long she had been sharing them with the group and they were all impressed. Afterall they were lovely images. But as I watched her in the field, I noticed she was getting comfortable, looking for easy lighting situations, filling the frame with the flower, repeating her steps over and over again as if it were a job. Don’t get me wrong, her images were beautifully captured; they just lacked soul-her soul.
It had occurred to me that she was not living up to her potential in the field. So I approached her and asked her, “Are you happy with those shots? Do they wow you? Are you pushing your limits? Are you exploring options outside of the norm?” Her answer to my questions may shock you. She replied, NO, I am not really happy with them; I mean, they are pretty but they are not special. So I asked another question. Do you want to leave this workshop with one special image? She immediately got up and said something to the effect of “I am all ears”. I was just being honest but in a gentle way, we had built up a trust over the years and I knew that she respected the fact that I only wanted the best for her photography. It’s kind of a sisterly relationship. I have this bond with several of my clients and it is what makes my time in the field so special. I don’t even limit this to women as many of my male clients share the same brotherly bond with me.
You see, I knew that she had special talents; I have followed her photography career since we first met. She knew what went into a great picture–she is an award winning photographer. She was just stumbling to put her creativity on paper as many of us do from time to time. I knew that hidden under all of those safe images she had a spectacular image inside of her waiting to emerge. She just needed a nudge, someone to be frank with her. That was me.
I gave her a few suggestions and sent her in the right direction to find her hidden gem. As she developed the image she would come to me for feedback and guidance as she was a little out of her comfort zone. By the time that the shooting session was over she had produced one stunningly, creative shot. I was impressed and I was also excited for her. I hope that she will take that spark and run with it. I also hope that she will not be mad at me for sharing this story.
The point of the story is to inspire you to stop taking safe images and start pushing the boundaries of your own self imposed photography prison. Break Out!! Be free, explore all your options, try to create something that will wow you.