Sometimes you might feel like you’re not getting anywhere with photography. Isn’t it?
You might feel that it’s all too complicated.
You might even be stressed about the fact that you just can’t get a good photograph no matter what you do.
Perhaps you are not sure why despite having technical knowhow your photos don’t turn out the way you want them to be.
You might feel that they lack the “wow” factor. Don’t you?
Today I’d like to talk about the essence of photography. Why we do it and what’s our end goal.
Why we do photography?
Let’s first understand why we do photography.
We do it because we are compelled to do it. Don’t you think?
No one asked you to do photography. No one pushed you into it. No one asks you to set goals like taking 100 photos in a quarter.
You won’t get a hike or will not be fired if you don’t do it well, either.
Basically, there’s no one watching your back all the times.
In that case, what’s this fuzz all about?
If it’s your choice to photograph, then why make it more like work?
Photography is an art form. It’s a creative endeavor which we all love. Just for the sake of it.
Not for impressing someone else or getting an award or getting recognized and so on.
Don’t you think far too many photographers are caring more about likes, shares, awards, etc. than the creative process itself?
If you set out to photograph because you want to prove it to others, then photography becomes like any other work.
It’ll be hard.
Instead of enjoying the creative process, you’ll always be in search of the next award-winning shot or a social media sensation.
Having some goals in mind is okay. Otherwise, you might not be motivated to learn and do better.
It feels great when one of your photos indeed become the talk of the town.
But, the thing to understand is that it’s not the essence of photography.
And also that’s not the reason you started photography. Isn’t it?
The real question instead is…
You’ve to ask yourself why did you start photography. Why do you do it?
Your answer could be as simple as “because, I like it or love it.”
Or, maybe you love the nature or wildlife or people or places or something else that compels you to take a photograph.
If you ask a novice photographer why he’s interested in photography, he’ll always have a candid reason like the ones mentioned above.
It’ll always be because he/she loves something.
As the time goes by…
But as the time goes by, this simple desire to photograph something that we love takes a different shape.
Before we realize it’ll be more about how to get more likes, shares, awards, accolades, etc. than enjoying the art for its own sake.
Don’t you agree?
I’ve been there. I’ve seen scores of photographers doing this every day.
Photography is an inside-out process
We need to realize that photography is an inside-out process. Which means, we are inspired first, and then we act.
If we just act without being inspired, then it’s not photography. It’s more like a job.
It’s like, “since I’ve got the camera, let me photograph.” That’s more like since I’ve got a job, let me do it.
It’s okay to do if your livelihood depends on it. You’ve to feed your family.
But photography doesn’t have to be that way. Even if you plan to be a professional. Or, if you already are.
This brings us to the main point of this article—the essence of photography.
The essence of photography is this…
We want to express what’s been impressed with our mind/heart through photography.
In other words, we want to convey what we saw and felt about the world through images.
Because it’s easier than writing a thousand words. Isn’t it?
That’s why they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
If our images have to resonate with the viewers, it has to first resonate with us. Right?
We’ve to feel it first before anyone else feels it.
We’ve to be moved first before anyone else is moved.
We’ve to be thrilled first before anyone else gets thrilled to see our images.
You see, it’s all about what’s inside of us. In a way, we are trying to express ourselves through our images.
And, that’s the essence.
It’s an extension of your self. If the feeling is authentic, the viewers will feel your feeling through your photograph.
Remember, emotions trump logic. It’s true in everything.
An emotionally engaging picture is far better than a technically perfect image.
Let me ask you this
Before you started photography when a fantastic image caught your attention, did you ever thought to yourself, “Oh, wow! I wonder what camera is this photographer using? Which lens? What ISO? Which composition technique?”?
Mostly you’d have said to yourself, “Wow! That’s an amazing photo!”
Maybe you’d have said, “I wish I could meet the photographer to express how much I love his/her work.”
Maybe after a while, you’d have wished that it’d have been great if you knew how to take such photos.
Or something similar. Isn’t it?
Do you see the point now?
Photography can be as exhilarating and satisfying as any other art form.
It’s a way to express yourself to the best possible extent. It’s a way to let your creative forces take an expression. Just like an artist.
In an altruistic way, it’s a way to come close to the creator himself.
Find your expression
With this I want to leave you with this thought:
Let’s enjoy the process of making a photograph. Let’s find our expression.
In the process of it, if we get some award & accolades, nothing like it. But let’s not reverse it.
Concentrate more on enjoying photography than caring too much about the technicalities. You’ll be a much happier photographer that way.
If you are having a great time taking photos, you’ll eventually find a way to express yourself as best as you could. That’s when you’ll also master all the techniques and skills.
In the end, when art meets science and emotion meets technique, a photograph becomes worthy of seeing.
Do you agree?
Now, it’s your turn to share your thoughts about the subject. I’ll be looking forward to it.
Have a great time! Enjoy!
P.S. I have great news to share with you soon. It’s one of those big moments in every photographer’s life. I am hoping you’ll like it.
P.P.S. A quick update on my forthcoming eBook—Kick-Ass Guide to Exposure. I’ve completed writing it & I am happy to say that it has come out really well. If you liked my other eBooks, you’d be thrilled with this new one. Will update on the release date in a week. Stay tuned.