San Diego Photographer Blog

Blog: Finding Inspiration

  • 3 May, 2011
  • Jason Kirby

While we have bought the photography equipment to fulfill the passion of photography we want to embark on, it is not always the case that before we leave the house every day our camera bag is on our shoulder as sure as our keys and wallet are in our pockets. I have found some little tricks to remember and inspire you to take your camera out of the closet for more than just the birthdays and vacations.

First, one of the easiest ways to be inspired is by a person. Usually we think to only photograph our family or friends, but I urge you to find inspiration in others. There are multiple ways to find this inspiration in.

The more outgoing option is to go out and photograph a person who catches your attention on the street or park. Think National Geographic in capturing a certain type of person that when viewed is defined as an identity. For instance, taking a picture of an athlete in his jersey with sweat still on his face can show a point of view for athletes. Or capturing a painter with their overalls covered in different colored swipes of paint creates a snip-it of that person’s identity. Taking a picture when everyone is dressed and done up captures a happy memory, but shooting a subject in their more routine surroundings captures an identity. A good way to take a strangers picture without feeling like a stalker or paparazzi is to ask them if you can take their picture for a class. This is a common tactic used in ethnography and it makes people feel better to know the photo is for a purpose and not for some odd collection. Another way to ask is to be more direct with the person and say you truly find them inspiring and would love to document their identity in a picture. A way to make them feel better about posing for you is if you ask for their e-mail or offer them yours in order to share the photo you take OF them, WITH them.

Another less random, but equally powerful option for finding inspiration in those around you is to “not forget the little people”. Your everyday friends, family, and acquaintances spend so much time around you every day, that you forget that this time together is some of the most important time of your life. Don’t forget to document your neighbor that always helps you when you go out of town, not only for your own memories, but they make amazing gifts and show that they matter to you.

4383408 We are around these people all the time and when thinking about our photo albums, there are most likely no professional looking photos that document these people and truly embody your relationship with them. We always bring our cameras out when family is in town to visit or at a graduation, which are all great places to take photos, but we can’t forget to find inspiration by remembering photography is about capturing the memories of our life to share with others and keep close for a long time to come.  Those everyday people that are a part of your life will be in your mind for the rest of your life and when you are telling the story of the next door neighbor you had at your college apartment or the owner of that Chinese restaurant that knows your order before you sit down, having a photo of them can make all the difference. Even if it is one picture it is important because that memory will be so special to you when remembering your past.


4946125Another inspiration is to not forget to document the process of life and not just the outcome. Photograph’s of your graduation are vital to memories, BUT a photo of you studying for a big test is how you got to that point and it is great to get those memories too.Another example would be taking pictures of your child after her play with flowers in her hands, which is very important.BUT, taking a photo of her getting her make-up put on, or practicing her song in her room are the memories that made that first photo so important. It is the time we all put into every memory in our life to make it worth taking a photo of and I think those times are just as important and fun as the final product.

Second, another place to find inspiration is when you are trying to find ways to decorate! Nowadays, it is simple to put your SD card into your computer and upload your photos to an album on your Facebook or computer. Because we rarely now take our “film” to the hour photo at Rite Aid to make us prints, a lot of our memories and documentation is solely on our computers. While some like putting photos of people on their walls, and other like scenery and nature for decorating, we forget that we are photographers!




For example, those beautiful scenic pictures or close-up of a beautiful flower shots they sell at Ikea and Target for too much money can be taken BY US! Recently, I was decorating my room with tans and greens and needed some type of photo or image to fill my wall. Instead of going out to the store and buying an overpriced canvas photo for $100, I went to La Jolla Shores and spent a couple of hours taking loads of scenic pictures of the water, the caves, the palm trees. When I got home, I found the photo that I liked the most and got it printed onto a large canvas to put on my wall and it only cost me $30.  Not only did it look professional and go perfectly with my color palate in that room, but it was one of a kind. I got to show my photography off in a solid form for my own gratification and anyone who saw it.
For most, the passion and enthusiasm for photography can be the sole inspiration, but for those who have started noticing their camera hasn’t seen the light of day in more time than they like, these little tips for inspiration will hopefully either give you that little push or motivate you to find your own inspirations in your life!

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