Where do you find inspiration for photography?
When it comes to finding inspiration for my photography, I can tell you that it comes from a lot of difference places, but I will start by saying where it does not come from: photography and bridal magazines. Each month, my PO box is packed with photography magazines such as, Rangerfinder, Photo District News, Popular Photography, PC Photo, Outdoor Photographer, Professional Photographer, and at least a dozen others that I can’t remember the name of. I don’t think I have actually paid for a subscription to any of them, although there are a few that I would. Somehow when you operate a studio and gallery, you end up on some list and the magazines just start pouring in.
It is not that I don’t enjoy reading these magazines, but most of the content falls in to one of two categories; the first being tools for turning you little home photo business into a multi million dollar a year business if only you buy a certain book, attend a certain class, or join a certain organization. The second category is how your photos will look great once you purchase new software, new cameras, or some other new toy that will make you the next Ansel Adams. I like a new gadget as much as the next guy, but the reality is that no toy I can buy is going to make me a better photographer.
If I really want inspiration for my wedding and portrait images, I stay clear of wedding and photography magazines. I find most of the images in those magazines somewhat stale. The fact is that the most innovative ideas are not emerging in those publications. They are seen elsewhere before the editor of a bridal magazine decides to include them, and it is only afterwards that they will appear in a photograph magazine.
When I want to see inspirational images, I look to magazines like Allure, GQ, and Vanity fair (especially an issue in which Annie Lebovitz has photographed the cover.) The fashion magazines have the newest most exciting imagery in them. This is where fashion starts before it is picked up by other industries. For me it doesn’t matter if I am doing a simple portrait of an infant or a modern wedding. I draw my inspiration from what is new and exciting to me.
If people want a more traditional image, there are plenty of other photographers that specialize in that. I want to make images that are art. Images that my clients want to see on their walls and shelves.