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Why You Need a Photographic Identity to Photograph Well - 1

You are certainly wondering why you are unable to create consistent and consistent series of photos.

You always recognize the signature of some photographers who inspire you. You would like it to be the same for you.

If you ask yourself these questions, it is because you have not taken the time to define your photographic identity.

I will give you some directions that will allow you to create nature photos that will be identifiable and recognizable.

Spatule blanche en contre-jour photographiée depuis un affût flottant en Dombes.
Eurasian Spoonbill in backlight photographed from a floating blind in La Dombes in France.

The Main Symptoms of the Lack of a Photographic Identity

In addition to the symptoms that I mentioned in the first lines of this article, the one that is most obvious is that of I do not know how and what to do".

This symptom often occurs in the field during a photo session. You are armed with good intentions. You have prepared your session, your material. You have a lot of ideas in mind. But once on the ground, you do not know how to approach the scene, how to photograph the deer that is 100 meters from you or this beautiful dawn that you want to immortalize.

You take pictures but you feel that there is nothing consistent. You miss this little plus that makes good photographers always having a photographic signature. When they are on the ground, they know exactly what they are going to do, and they are doing it.

This is what I call the principle of photographic identity.

What is Photographic Identity?

When you look at the photographs of a photographer you like and who inspires you, it is because he has developed two essential elements:

  • A photographic vision.
  • A photographic style.

The establishment of these two elements allow him to be identifiable and recognized among hundreds of other photographers.

The vision and the photographic style give meaning to his artistic activity.

There are certainly other photographers you do not appreciate the photographic approach, but you are still able to name them because you recognize their photographic identity. Is not it essential to a successful photographic approach?

Know that having your own photographic identity allows you to be differentiated without confusion with other photographers.

To summarize the photographic identity, I can say that it gives you an existence in photography.

Defining your photographic identity will allow you to say who you are, what you want to be, who you want to be taken by others, whether photographers or not.

Your photographic identity will define how you will be perceived by the world around you.

Define your photographic identity allows you to list all the artistic data that will individualize your artistic approach.

It's a bit like your administrative identity with your physical characteristics, your date and your place of birth.

A photographic identity allows you to individualize yourself, to get out of the mass of photographers, to ensure your singularity and your artistic individuality.

The Impact of a Photographic Identity

The etymology of the word identity comes from the Latin "idem” which meant the same.

The main impact of a good and strong photographic identity is to allow you to create series of photographs of nature that will be coherent and consistent. Once on the field, you will not scatter anymore. You will focus on specific shooting goals. You will know exactly what direction to take.

You will understand why you will create your photographs. When you have your camera in your hands, you will constantly refer to the values of your photographic identity to make your shots.

Your photographic identity is not just the image you want to give to others. It also defines your actions in the present or the past.

In this article, I defined photographic writing. It can be considered one of those actions that would be an extension of who you are.

The First Element of a Photographic Identity: Your Photographic Vision

Defining your photographic vision is much more than defining your goals in photography.

Your photographic vision is your course of action. It gives you reasons to go on the field to create photographs.

If you define your artistic vision well, you will answer the essential question and that you are often asked "Why do you practice photography?".

For example, in my case, I invariably answer " I practice photography to share and reveal my passion for the wonders of nature".

If you do not yet have a clear and consistent photographic vision of your photographic activity, I can only encourage you to define it as quickly as possible.

My method is simple. Just take a sheet of paper and a pencil to write down all the ideas that come to mind. I do not recommend the computer because on your sheet you will scratch, make diagrams, go back and forth in your ideas to order them. In this case of introspective brainstorming, the computer is not practical.

On this piece of paper, list everything you like to do during your photo sessions. Simply list the ideas of what you like but also what we do not like. It's a bit like you're listing your strengths and weaknesses.

At this stage, do not write long sentences. Just align your ideas.

For example, you can write ideas like «contemplate nature », « listen to the silence », « observe the animals », « listen to the wind in the trees», « watch the fish swim », « let me wrap in the mood». Nature offers a multitude of sensations that are visual, olfactory, tactile or sound. The catalog of ideas can be long. But during this phase, do not hesitate.

Then order your ideas by force in the decreasing sense. What you prefer should be at the top of the list.

Once all the ideas have been ordered and consolidated, all you have to do is take the three strongest ideas and put them together with a sentence. She will express why you chose photography as a creative activity. It’s your vision.

The definition of your photographic vision is never final. The general idea will remain invariable in time, but the wording will change. The words will evolve because your vision will be refined over time. She is like your life. With experience, age and maturity, your photographic vision will clear, refine, simplify to achieve a true and deep definition of your photographic personality.

Even if you are not completely satisfied with the sentence that defines you, do not worry. You have taken a decisive step in your photo activity. You have to start someday with something. You made the most difficult. The rest will follow.

The consequence of a clear and well- defined photographic vision is that you fear will fly away. The object of your vision becomes a real engine for your creativity. When you want a photo, you have all the elements you hang on for the composition, the framing.

The Second Element of Your Photographic Identity: Your Photographic Style

The rest of this article is available on another page. Click on the link below.


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