Want to make better photographs? Look inside yourself.

We all want to make “better” photographs, so we lust after the newest high end gear, we lament the fact we can’t travel to exotic locations because there is “nothing interesting” about where you live, and we feel like without those things we just can’t make it happen. It’s not true, lets look at why.

Misleading Information Aplenty

We’ve all heard the famous quotes that go something along the lines of : “If you want more interesting photos you need to live a more interesting life” or multiple other variations on that theme. While I do think there is SOME truth in that, it’s not necessarily as easy as travelling or having the latest and greatest gear. No this isn’t a rant about GAS again, new gear is awesome and there is some I’d love to get my hands on right now.

The problem is that travelling, while fun and enjoyable, will not fill your memory cards with better photos. That new gear, while great to use, will not make your photos any better.

Consider this great quote from one of my favorite books on creativity, The Creative Fight by Chris Orwig:

Another misleading tip is this: “To take better photographs, you need to stand in front of more interesting things.” Yet it’s not what you photograph, but how. Good images come from within. Buying a nice camera and visiting a beautiful place is easy; making meaningful photographs is hard.

Orwig, Chris. The Creative Fight: Create Your Best Work and Live the Life You Imagine (p. 192). Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.

You make the images, not the camera or the location.

Did you catch what he said in the quote above? Good images come from within. It doesn’t matter how expensive or fancy of a camera you’re using. Travelling to beautiful places can be terrific but it won’t generate better photography for you just because you go there. Without looking inside, you’ll end up with really mediocre images of beautiful places.

Creating by starting from a place within yourself lets you create work that speaks to you. Work that not only speaks, but shouts and sings. You’re life experience, the way that YOU see the world around you, these are the things that allow you to create work that is meaningful and full of impact.

Search deep down inside yourself, find the things that make you YOU. Those emotions, the unique personal outlook on the world. That quirky, comical side that loves to have fun. The darker, moody side that feels isolation. Whatever you find when you look deep down inside, let it flow out through your viewfinder as you frame up your photographs.

Let the real you dictate how you create.

It’s not always easy. Not everybody will always like it. But the only way to grow and create better work is to look within yourself. Of course better is completely subjective to the viewer. In this case I mean it in terms of how you feel about your own work. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks at this stage, if ever.

As you allow your unique inner self to dictate how you go about creating your work, you’ll feel a sense of satisfaction you’ll never get from buying a new camera. You’ll feel a personal growth that all the travel in the world might never give you. There really is something special about allowing yourself to follow wherever your creative instinct wants to guide you.

New gear and travel are not evil. Just remember that you’ll never, and I mean NEVER, become a better photographer by purchasing the latest cameras or simply traveling to the most exotic locations possible. That growth HAS to come from within you and from our ability to bring those true elements of yourself through your lens into your photographs.

As the kids say, you just gotta do you!



If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of The Creative Fight

by Chris Orwig. I really think you’ll love it!

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