Photo Life 02: Finding Your Creative Voice

Photo Life 02 | Finding Your Creative Voice by Azzari Jarrett

Continuing today with the 2nd installment of my new series, Photo Life!

With this series, I plan to tackle common photography questions that I receive.  As always, if there's a topic that you'd like to discuss (whether it's photography or film related), feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email.  

Amanda recently contacted me about guidance on how to free yourself from the technical side of photography and find your creative voice.  She is struggling with how release the feeling that her images have to be "perfect".

Here are 4 tips to help find your creative voice through photography. 

Photo Life 02 | Finding Your Creative Voice by Azzari Jarrett

It sounds simple, but so many people struggle with this.  They take photos of what they think is popular or what looks good, not giving a second thought to their own interests or what brings them joy. 

What do you like to do? How do you spend your days? Be sure to photograph that.  Are you drawn to still life photography? Food photography? Portraits? Pursue what makes your soul sing. The joy you experience in capturing what interests you will be readily apparent in your photos.  If your photos are forced or rushed, that will come across too.

I admire the work of so many people that have such different interests from my own.  Photographers who concentrate on portraits, weddings, graffiti, abandoned buildings, the list goes on.  But when you are your truest self behind the camera, that will come through in your images.  And that is what I see - someone's passion, their determination, the beauty of what they have captured at that moment in time.

Keep in mind that your interests will change, and that is okay as well.  As life happens, know that as you grow as a person, your interests will shift. Your photography will continue to evolve based on your life circumstances.  Be open to that.  And photograph what makes you happy.

Be sure to take photos every day with any camera that you currently have. Don't wait for the perfect time.  Don't wait for the perfect camera.  Use what you have, right now.  Your smartphone, your digital camera, your film camera - it doesn't matter, just be sure to capture that light everyday.

And by that I don't mean that you have to do a formal 365 day project.  Simply take a moment each day to photograph some bit of your life.

Practice, practice, practice. It's the only way to find your rhythm, what angle you like you the best, what setting is best for the time of day.

Keep snapping, keep practicing.

Photo Life 02 | Finding Your Creative Voice by Azzari Jarrett

Knowing the rules of photography is important.  The rule of thirds, lens flare, shooting in manual, composition, guidelines - these are all great, but if the technical side of photography is too daunting, don't let it hinder you from where you are.

There are so many people who never reach their full potential or even share their images, because they are so critical of their own work.  They have spent so much time post processing and critiquing their own photographs that they are paralyzed and too afraid to share.

Push through that. 

Photography is not about perfectionism. Photography is art. Know the rules of the game so that you can acknowledge when you break them.  

Be sure of yourself. Be sure of your work. That photograph that you captured is from your unique point of view at that very moment in time, regardless of how many people have photographed that subject before you.

Try not to make your photos abide by anyone else's rules.  And only then will your photos truly become your own.

Photo Life 02 | Finding Your Creative Voice by Azzari Jarrett


And finally, this might be the most important tip - Be inspired, but then keep going.

Follow your favorite photographers.  Look at their work.  Contact them about their process.  I have found that photographers love to talk shop (myself included, by the way).

Be inspired by what they are doing, but don't let it hinder you from quitting because your photography is not where you want it to be.  

I think Alice said it best in this interview:

"When you’re too focused on what everyone else is doing, you end up trying to emulate the thing you’re inspired by. Keep creating a lot of work, keep producing."

Don't stop because your work does not look like theirs, your work brings your unique perspective to the table.  

Do what feels right, and you will get to where you want to be.