VOICE AND VISUALS
Get out and make something
If you are a photographer nothing in this world can replace the act of taking pictures. As a creative, you need to start by finding out what makes you want to create. You need to go out and find what attracts you visually. Into flower arranging? Take pictures! Massive BMX and Downhill fan? Get out and shoot it!
Being in the trenches and making images is the start of your creativity. You need to learn to solve creative problems in a manner borne of necessity rather than because it’s the RIGHT thing to do.
Learn based on the challenges you face
If you're out there shooting and working through your creativity, developing your eye and making better and better things, you need to address issues you see by learning how to overcome a problem. Nothing will kill your creativity more than learning how to do something only to find that you have completely smothered your voice.
Love shooting with wide angle lenses but want to make portraits? Most photography blogs will say you can’t do it. It’s a lie. You can do whatever you want and you can make it look amazing. But you need to learn how to overcome the drawbacks.
No one ever made anything new by copying something someone else did verbatim.
Lean into your weirdness
Some of the most innovative approaches to image-making comes from sticking to your guns, learning a tool to a level that no-one else can. To do that you’re going to need to focus on the thing that makes you stand out as different and not just following a template.
Want to shoot events with no flashes and only one lens? I did that for years and I made some of the work I was proudest of at the time. When I started to adopt “best practices” my voice was muddied. You can make more images but the soul is lost.
I made images that were great but they didn’t feel honest, they didn’t feel like they came from my eyes and my mind.
Make things that feel like home and find the people that live there.
Authenticity is a rare commodity. People aren’t accustomed to seeing work that feels like it comes from the heart and it can move people to love (or hate) your work. This is a super power. You have the chance to bypass the soulless and go directly to authentic. Once you have done that, your next job is to find the people that feel the way you do. Forget the people that hate it, you aren't here for them.
Visual identity isn't something people are always aware of, but we all know what kind of images and video we are drawn to. When you're looking for visuals, being able to discern what you like is something instinctive. You need to find the people that instinctively love your work, the ones that will pick up on the details you see and no-one else does, love the emotion in the image or the sense of nostalgia you evoke.
Once you have found your people make them feel at home. Give them a steady stream of images to help them feel more and more like they know you.
We all want to work with people we know and love.