Tuesday Truth: Inspiration vs. Imitation

I have a very special place in my heart for film photography. I don’t know if it’s the old lady in me or what, but there’s something special about film.

But I also love digital photography, and at this point in my business, it is definitely the way to go for me. But, because of my love for the look of film, I  tried imitating that look in my editing. And yet, I was always disappointed. I’d look at images and think, “I know what film specs most film photographers use, why don’t my images look like theirs?” It got to a point where I was so aggravated with my images that editing made me feel miserable. Until recently. Not too long ago, something clicked in my head, and I realized that instead of simply trying to imitate all of these film photographers who have been in the industry longer than I have, I ought to simply be inspired by the beauty of their work. I now know how much goes into taking just one image on film, and sure I shoot digitally and could just fill a memory card with hundreds of photos, but why not be inspired to approach my sessions and weddings in the methodical, purposeful way that is required of film photography? For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing just that. When I stopped to take a moment to really think and compose a shot, I found myself deleting far fewer images and editing less and less thus making the entire photographic experience so much more enjoyable.

Now, when I stalk all of my favorite photographers blogs, instead of wondering how I can make my images look like theirs, I simply admire their talent and their photos, and take note of how they used the light in one image, or how they posed the couple in another. If you google the definition of inspiration you will find this, “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative”. Trying to imitate others’ work slowly made me sink to the bottom of a sea of self-loathing, but choosing inspiration over imitation pushes me to work harder and become a better photographer, and that right there, is what I really need.  

And because every post is better with a picture, here’s a sneak peak of my time at A Practical Wedding Workshop with Abby Grace. More to come from this amazing experience.

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Author: Carrie