While having dinner at the Mid-America Club last night, we picked up a couple Chicago wedding magazines on our way into the restaurant. I love flipping through pages in magazines, and even though I’m “doing research” it never feels like work when I flip through wedding mags. I believe staying inspired keeps you fresh. That doesn’t have to be flipping through magazines to see what’s hot; maybe that means traveling, or listening to music, or walking through a new exhibition or art gallery. Staying sharp on the inspiration front is key for me, especially when I’m photographing weddings year after year.
Danger: don’t jump on trends, but be aware of what is happening in your industry. For example, remember the dark and moody trend that, thankfully, we are on our way out of? Being aware of this trend allowed me to set myself apart from other photographers by offering colorful and brighter images. Furthermore, I was able to help educate brides on the difference in photographers’ styles. I think this is key to being happy as an artist.
What to look for: I look for images that move me. I don’t set out to recreate those images, but I look at what I like about that image. Maybe the composition is unique. Or maybe the color palette catches my eye. Then, I let that soak into my subconscious to help grow me as an artist. I also look for things I would improve upon, based on my style. I love clean photos, for example, and often look at images and see how I could improve the focal point of the image by eliminating distracting elements. Constantly looking at ways to improve not only images your see, but images you take are a great way to grow and refine your skills.