Just Taking Pictures Isn’t Enough

indianapolis-photographer I’ve always loved photographs. When I started this journey six years ago to become an artist, using my camera as a paint brush to document the world from my vantage point, I didn’t think much beyond the technicality of taking a picture. How do I compose it? How do I expose properly? How do I interact with my client so I get a good, natural smile? How can I shoot a pretty image in a modern style? How do I edit this to get the look I want?

I wore myself down, working hard to find the answers to those questions and practice the techniques I learned, always experimenting and striving to figure out how to take a good picture. It took a looooong time, and a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and sleepless nights to start producing images I was mostly happy with.

And then something unexpected happened. I realized this photography thing is so much more than just taking pictures. It’s not about a pretty, properly exposed, pinterest-worthy composition all tied up in a four-cornered square of pixels that I post on my blog and ship off to clients. This is someone’s life, someone’s love, someone’s being that I’m photographing.

I’m giving them something I create, based on their special, individual, unique moments I get to witness while I’m with them. They invite me into their private worlds, my clients, so I can give them something they will love for the rest of their lives. Which I didn’t notice or tap into at first, when I was so worried over being technically correct and so consumed by taking a photo that would get a lot of facebook likes. But once I did start to notice -- wow! I’ve grown so much as an artist because of that awareness. And honestly, I’ve been reduced to tears more than once thinking about what an honor it is that people let me do this for them; that they want me to be the one to photograph their lives, and that I get to give them something they take with them, to enjoy forever. I have the chance not only to document their lives, but to impact them. They see their lives from a new perspective, and have the experience of discovering the beauty in themselves and their families as I show them who they are through my pictures.

 

You have to get to the heart of what you’re doing.

 

You have to have a motivation and a message behind your work. It has to get emotional, and even spiritual, and not be purely technical. That’s the sweet spot. That’s when something magical happens. I’m learning to honor that fully, so I can better serve my clients and become more fulfilled as an artist. This new stage in my journey is exhilarating. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

So that is one of the things I wish I knew back then, in the early days of my photography adventure. That just taking pictures isn’t enough. It has to go deeper.

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