We all want to improve our photography. Extending yourself, developing new skills and using new techniques are a part of the road to improvement. However, the ultimate aim is to develop the ‘photographers eye’. We want to see a scene, visualise a pleasing outcome, then produce a photograph realizing our vision. Developing that vision is something that comes with experience, practice, skill and aspirations.
Our standards define a quality image. If a picture meets our standard we would put it on the wall, proudly show it off or gladly publish it. Aspirations are how we raise our standards. If we aspire to higher levels of skill and art we are raising the bar – raising the standard of our photographic performance.
In another article I suggested you should start a 50-a-day habit of viewing photographs. In the next article I showed you some places where you could find pictures to feed your habit. Today’s tip is about your standards and aspirations.
While feeding your 50-a-day habit look out for the ‘One’ – the photograph that does what you want to achieve in an area of your photography. If you are interested in food photography, keep an eye out for the ‘One’ that you wish you had taken; the ‘One‘ you aspire to in your own shots. If you shoot sports, keep an eye open for the ‘One’ shot that is the champion of what you want to express. Look out for the shots you think cannot be bettered.
Collect those ‘One’ shots for all the areas of photography you are working on. These are the aspirational and inspirational shots that are your goals in photography. When you produce shots like that you will be in a new, higher place.
I put my collection in a folder I call ‘My Admiration Set’. I return to them regularly. I admire them, I aspire to their standards and I soak myself in their essence. These are the shots that I will one day be able to reproduce in my own way. I will equal them, and I will move on.
‘My Admiration Set’ is an evolving standard. I prune them, I replace them and I meet the changing aspirations I have with new ideas and images. One thing is constant. These images are the ones that indicate where my photography is going. They are my inspiration, my guide and the standard I aspire to reach.
My tip today is… set up your own ‘Admiration Set’. Keep it going, keep it growing. But, never put any picture in there that you are capable of producing now. The only pictures you can put in there are the pictures that you one-day hope to be able to produce. Then, work towards that goal.