How I Use Inspiration Shots From Other Photographers

How I Use Inspiration Shots From Other Photographers

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How do you gather ideas for your photography? It would be impossible for anyone to say that they don’t gather inspiration and ideas from the imagery around them. I’d love to share with you the process with which I gather ideas for my sessions and how I use other photographers’ work to inspire my own.

I’ve always sung the praises of Flickr. I logon every day (even if only for a moment) to check what my contacts have uploaded and grab a couple glimpses at Flickr’s ‘interestingness’ of the day. I also love to Stumble and find new photographers around the web whose work I can appreciate. So what’s a photographer to do when they find something they’d like to keep in their mind for their next date with the camera?

I keep a file on my computer called ‘inspiration’. It’s divided into subfolders for all different categories I feel they best belong to. When I’m preparing for a session, I go into the folders and pic a couple (and ONLY a couple:) shots which inspire me. It used to be that I would pick shots I’d like to try to copy verbatim but I soon realised that I was spending all my time worrying about the exact pose in the photo that I was missing out on other shots. Now, I use my inspiration to guide me in a general direction. Sometimes, I’m able to rip off the whole thing which looks good, but doesn’t exactly feel magical. Other times, something completely different comes out of it and that’s the most rockin’ thing of all.

So here are a few inspiration vs. end result shots and what I was thinking when I took them.

1.} This is quite a common concept for couples, but this image (left) was the first time I’d ever seen it done. And mine (right) was my first photo taken in my first ‘real’ photo shoot as a ‘professional’. I was so nervous about the session that I made a file of images on my ipod and copied them verbatim. Although lacking in inspiration of my own accord, it was an excellent first experience.

2.} This is an excellent example of how my Flickr browsing has changed from copying concepts to being deeply inspired by them. It wasn’t until I was browsing my inspiration folder to write this post that I realised that the image (left) felt strikingly similar to the image I took last week of this couple. When you soak in great photography and squeeze yourself once in a while, great photography will come out!

How do you utilise other photographers’ work to inspire your own?

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Elizabeth Halford is a photographer and advertising creative producer in Orlando, FL. She wrote her first article for dPS in 2010. Her most popular one racked up over 100k shares!

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