Can Vision Be Taught To Photographers?

I received a very important question from someone in the community, and I thought it was essential for me to share the question and my answer.

I am relatively new to photography. The biggest problem I ran into or still can’t get a hold on is what stream of photography should I be working on. I am always inspired by fine art photographers but I tried doing couple of fine art work failed miserably . I don’t think no one can do worse. And portrait work is something I like but almost impossible to get models to shoot for ( that is the case in my country ) . I recently graduated and want to work in photography field but I am completely lost , I don’t have any idea how I could do it , what avenue of photography I want to concentrate on , how I am gonna build a portfolio. what should I do to get around it .? I spend more time Photoshopping and not taking pictures . I guess I need to change the trend . do you have any suggestions so that I can get back on track.!!

As you can see, the photographer doesn’t have a vision for himself.  He doesn’t have a direction of where to take his photography, and potentially turn it into a business.

Creating Ghosts in Long Exposure Photographs

There are many photographers out there who teach vision and creativity.  That’s not me.  I like to teach strategy, tools and techniques.

Can Vision Be Taught To Photographers?

In my opinion, vision cannot always be taught.  However, there are ways to get around the creative block and find what you love.

I don’t think it can be taught because a photographer’s vision isn’t black and white. There’s so many colors and variances. The only thing we can do, as educators, is to offer guidance to push people towards finding their own visions. Using challenges that are broad so the photographer is forced to think using their creative brain. Or specific as we discover the photographer’s strengths and nudge them forward.

For years I thought that I wanted to photograph portraits for the most part.  But after spending a lot of time making photographs for myself, I discovered that I enjoy photographing landscapes and still objects like buildings, far more than people.

Here is some of things I did to figure that out.

  1. I spend a lot time on social media interacting with other photographers.  Some of this time is spent looking at their work.  Some of it is spent have conversations about the business and experiences.  In fact, years ago I interviewed many photographers on my blog, which greatly helped.
  2. I spend a lot of time looking at the most popular photographs on 500px and Flickr.  I get inspired by what I see and push myself to make a photograph with the same amount of impact.  I don’t try to replicate or imitate.  But rather, use what I’ve learned from other photographs and put my twist on it.
  3. I utilize Lightroom presets regularly to discover potential new processing styles and either start from scratch or build off of the preset.  In many cases it might be Mastin Labs, VSCO, or others.
  4. I join local photography groups for photowalks and meetings.  I also host my own via a Google Plus community.  This allows me to take the connections offline to find more inspiration.
  5. I go on 3 mile photowalks to see new things.
  6. I shoot for myself as much as I shoot for clients.  Sometimes even more-so.
  7. I spend less time processing and more time walking around with my camera.
  8. I carry my camera with me everywhere.
  9. I slow down and think more about the photograph, where to focus, which metering mode to use and so on.
  10. I buy eBooks from other photographers which either turn me off to a niche in the industry, or pull me in and make me want to try it as well.

Those ten things (and possibly more) will help someone find their vision.

So next time you’re in that creative block and feeling a lack of vision, try one of these things.  Try something new. Go out and make photographs for yourself.

That will inspire you.  That will spark something.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,


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