May 25, 2016

3 Tips To Stay Inspired as a Photographer

Do you know anyone who eats the same exact thing for lunch every single day?  How do they stay inspired to eat the same thing over and over again. Or perhaps chicken is on the dinner menu a lot.  I’m laughing right now because Anthony has wanted to ban chicken at our house forever.  Although we eat more vegetables these days, I can remember countless dinner nights with comments like, “wow, chicken again”, or “please, don’t let it be chicken”, or “let me guess, it’s chicken”.  Oh my goodness, tears are in my eyes from laughing right now!

To my defense, I had 99 recipes for chicken.  There was barbecue chicken, grilled chicken, chicken scampi, chicken alfredo, chicken parmesan, balsamic chicken, curry chicken….Forrest Gump and Bubba’s shrimp recipes had nothing on my chicken repertoire.

I was always inspired to find new ideas to make the best chicken dinners.

How do I keep this interesting?

With most things that we begin doing, we can often we find ourselves needing to shake things, add something new, try it a different way, take time to breathe and think to regain our footing and to feed our souls with inspiration.

As a wedding photographer, I want to stay inspired for myself and for my clients.  Sometimes that means I’m photographing an apple at different times of the day to observe the light,  and other times I’m setting up my studio strobe and photographing a vase of tulips.

Inspiration is all around us in nature, in observing people, in observing light, in pulling up weeds out of the garden, in listening.

How do I stay inspired as a photographer?

Other than being observant in my every day life, here are a 3 tips to stay inspired as a photographer that have been beyond helpful for me.

A 365 Project – This was one of my favorite projects.  My project lasted for about 135 days after wedding season started because I couldn’t keep up, but those 135 days were impactful.  I carried my camera with me every where I went.  It was great because I found myself making photographs in many different lighting scenarios that definitely transfer to a wedding day.

Personal Projects – I love personal projects because I get to fail.  That’s right, I get to fail.  Failure is the only way that I can learn and grow and get better at my craft,  refine who I am as an artist,  and stretch myself without limitations.  Personal projects feed my soul.  Personal projects also allow me creative freedom to try new techniques, shoot with lenses that I may not use as often, and allow me to test out new gear.

Teach- While not a project, teaching has allowed me to communicate what I know,  to learn more with my students, and to study great photographers like Dorothea Lange, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Gordon Parks to name a few.

The lightbulb didn’t go off immediately when I heard Cliff Mautner use the phrase…my camera is an extension of my mind’s eye.  Three years later, and that is the way that I always want to see.  In order to do that, I’m constantly observing light, making photographs even when there is no camera in my hand, and always seeking ways to stay inspired.

Here are a few photographs that I made recently from a personal project with one of my favorite models Dayana Karis.  I started with one idea, and once we headed out for the woods that all changed as I saw something different.

3 tips for photographers to stay inspired by shawon davis photography3 tips for photographers to stay inspired by shawon davis photography3 tips for photographers to stay inspired by shawon davis photography3 tips for photographers to stay inspired by shawon davis photography3 tips for photographers to stay inspired by shawon davis photography3 tips for photographers to stay inspired by shawon davis photography3 tips for photographers to stay inspired by shawon davis photography3 tips for photographers to stay inspired by shawon davis photography3 tips for photographers to stay inspired by shawon davis photography3 tips for photographers to stay inspired by shawon davis photography

If you’re a photographer, what are ways that you stay inspired?

If you’re making chicken, what are some of your favorite recipes?

If you’re eating salads every single day for lunch, how do you mix it up?

Leave me a comment below!

-xo, Shawon

Gear Used:
Nikon D700
Nikon 50 mm 1.8
Nikon 70-200mm

(*affiliate links to gear that I love and use)

comments

2

  1. Vanessa

    June 24th, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Great post Shawon, I love your ideas. The winter months are especially hard for wedding photographers. My personal projects have been: styled shoots, meeting local vendors and blogging. The 365 project has been on my list for a while now! Thank you for the ideas.

    P.s: chicken is my least favorite as well. haha

  2. admin

    June 28th, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Thanks, Vanessa! I loved the 365, and I really need to do that again or even a Project 52 with a photo a week. Too funny about the chicken!

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