Even though being a photographer is our dreamiest of dream jobs, it does not make us immune to falling into a slump, rut, routine, or whatever else you've decided to call those monotonous days full of the same task. However, as a whole, we are a pretty darn lucky group in that art is always our goal. No matter what is in the front of our camera's lens, perusing art consistently claims the crown in importance. In that moment before the shutter snaps, the thought running through your mind should be, 'how much art can I fit into this frame'? Think... how do I make better art?
Here is an idea you can do today to develop the right side of your brain. Being in the presence of design you admire can help you achieve new ground in your own portfolio. Create a photo shoot for yourself as if you were shooting for your favorite catalog. What would you choose to shoot if your work was entirely art focused?
A place to start: Photograph your favorite piece of jewelry/clothing/decor. (If you're really feeling stumped, feel free to run out to your favorite boutique and pick up something fresh that makes you feel like you're living exactly the life you want. It's all in the name of career development, right? A friend's closet is also an excellent place to start!)
After you have your item, think about how you would highlight all its best features. What kind of set do you need? Explore several places and take test shots. Maybe the item will look best on your wood floor? Or perhaps it will shine laid out in the garden in a more natural setting. Think about the best light for the item. Should it be hanging in the window for some natural backlight? Or does it need a white reflector and flash for a crisp and clean feel? All these things to consider may be second nature when you're on a job, but how often do you take the time to shoot something you actually love and really enjoy.
In this shot (above) I chose to contrast the organic curves of the chain with the sharp lines of the folded paper. This makes the shot dynamic and yet still subtle enough to keep the pendant as the focal point. There is just enough visual interest to keep the eye moving around the frame without being distracting.
Here I wanted to highlight the era of the necklace and tell the tale of the woman who wore it. The letter underneath written in cursive is indicative of centuries past. The addition of a single botanical helps tell a story of romance.
Books are another way to play with and embrace art that you admire. Thisi s another opportunity to treat yourself to some new inspiration. Head to a bookstore an pick up something that really speaks to you, or head to your grandmother's bookshelf and hunt for a vintage treasure. Find something that makes you want to crawl between the pages and live in the photos. Flip through the pages and spend some time with them. Imagine what it would be like to be int hat space and what details you would find interesting if you were there. Use your lens to tell the story as you are interpreting it.