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2 Tips for Creating Photos for a Specific Use

Landscape in black and white of Monument Valley. Photograph created for a book. Photograph by Amar Guillen, photographer artist.
Landscape in black and white of Monument Valley. Photograph created for a book.

Reason #2 for Creating Photos for a Specific Use: Pleasing Your Audience

When you create photos, you want them to be seen and appreciated by the people who make up your audience.

Photography is a means of artistic expression. You show your emotions. You convey personal messages. You appreciate having an audience that shares the same values as you. I am exactly like you. I like to please art lovers and collectors who follow me.

Giving pleasure to other people is a characteristic of the human species. We need to give pleasure to others and be recognized.

But to be recognized and to please, you have to be interested in the expectations of your audience. You must respond to their desires. You have to create photos for a given use.

How: Creating a Photo for a Specific Use

You have certainly understood that creating photos for a specific use will make you satisfied, happy, and efficient because you will address your audience.

Since you will be talking to people who share the same values as you do, you will find the motivation to continue in the direction you have chosen.

Why don't you address other people as well? Why not address yourself to people who do not know your photographic artistry and possibly artistic approach? These are the two questions that you certainly ask yourself.

The answer I am going to give you is simple. I understood it after years of working to try to convince others of my good faith and ideas.

In the audience that does not know you, there are two categories of people. First, those you will never convince. Second, those who are ready to be part of your audience but who do not know you yet.

For the first category, do not waste your time. I learned that no matter what I could do, these people would not try to understand me. I behave this way too. I have specific ideas about how to behave with others. For example, I am not racist; I am not xenophobic. No one will ever be able to change my mind. I am stuck on my ethical and moral positions. I think that for photographic art, it is the same thing. So, I advise you not to waste your time trying to convince people who don't want to change.

If you want to be appreciated by the second category of people, those who do not know you, you must send clear, understandable messages so that they adhere to your values.

Creating photos for a specific purpose is one way. For example, if you like illustrative photography for news stories, then create photos for that use. Do not change the way you are.

I will give you two tips on how to do this.

Tip #1: Define your Photographic Why

If you want to create photos for a specific use whether it is for a report, a contest, a festival, an exhibition in a gallery, or to publish them on your social networks, the best advice I can give you is to define your photographic why.

I remind you that it will allow you to define a goal for your photographs. The photographic why gives you all the reasons why you photograph. It is your raison d'être as a photographer. With a strong photographic why, you will move quickly in your activity. You will no longer be distracted. You will be focused on a specific goal to achieve.

Your photographic why allows you to define steps in your photographic projects. This is what I call intermediate objectives.

Your photographic why defines the rails on which you will move forward as you make your photographic creations.

As I explained in a previous blog post, it is not always easy to create. You have to do an intense work of introspection. You have to take a lot of distance.

This is one of the reasons that pushed me to create the photo workshops. I help photographers to develop a strong photographic why in order to go further in photographic creation. My goal is to help other people create interesting pictures that make sense.

To create photos for a specific use, create in a simple way with a strong photographic why.

Tip #2: Define your Photographic Artistry

Once you have defined why you practice photography, it remains for you to define your photographic approach. This is also one of the subjects I address during my photography workshops.

I would like to remind you that your photographic approach can be broken down into two points:

  • Your photographic vision.
  • Your photographic signature.

Your photographic vision is to define how you see the world around you.

Your photographic signature consists in defining how you show it through images.

When you are going to define your photographic approach, do not try to copy/paste other photographers.

On the other hand, you are unique. Your photographic approach belongs only to you. It must resemble you. You are the only person who can express your emotions and convey your messages. You will show your universe. You will decline your uniqueness.

On the other hand, when you look at photographic activity in magazines, on websites or especially on social networks, be careful. Take a step back. Most photos that are published are just media noise. Most of these photos have been taken without any particular meaning. They do not follow any particular logic. They were not built on a solid photographic foundation.

These photos will be forgotten as quickly as they were seen.

Avoid media and photographic noise at all costs. Just because a photo is published does not mean it's good. It is published because it is used as a support for an article or because a photographer puts it forward.

Learn how to judge photos. This is extremely important for your creativity.

To define your photographic approach, analyze yourself, look for inspiration without copying and pasting photographs.

A good photographic approach allows you to create photos for a specific use. Your photos will become interesting and unique. They will make sense. You will be identifiable. Finally, you will be visible and above all audible.

Case Study: A Masterpiece Photo for an Exhibition

Marsh of Beaugeay in Charente-Maritime in France. Created as a master piece for an exhibition. Photographie créée pour un livre. Photograph by Amar Guillen, photographer arstist.
Marsh of Beaugeay in Charente-Maritime in France. Created as a master piece for an exhibition.

In the previous paragraphs, I explained that if you want to create interesting photos that make sense and look like you, you must do it for a specific purpose. I advised you to define your photographic why and your photographic approach.

These two tools are absolutely necessary. I will now give you a concrete example of the precise use of a photo. It is a personal example.

In 2010, a town hall commissioned me to create an exhibition of 20 photos to show the natural wonders of a region. It was my first institutional commission. I worked for six months to create these 20 photos. A book with a print run of 1000 copies was also published.

This was my first experience as a photographic artist.

My experience in creating an exhibition was limited. I had informed myself as much as possible, but I had forgotten one essential element: the masterpiece.

The masterpiece is a photo introducing an exhibition. It is the one that will appear on the advertising flyers, on the cover of the book. It is the one that will attract attention.

It was the curator of the exhibition who pointed out to me that all the photos were consistent with the theme of the exhibition but none of them could be retained as a masterpiece.

So, I went back to the field with my photographic equipment to create this famous photo.

It took me almost eight days to make it. It was beautiful. Everyone who saw it found it beautiful and interesting. She received nothing but praise. But when I look back 10 years later, I only sold it once. Why? Simply because this photo had a specific use: to introduce an exhibition. Many people found it beautiful, but only one person found it suitable for his living space. That is the way it is. Every photograph has its use.

After all these years of work I have learned the lesson well. I hope that this example has helped you to better understand what I am talking about.

Finally

If you need to retain the essential points of this article, remember that each photograph must be made for a particular purpose if it is to be interesting and meaningful.

If you understand this truth, you will fully blossom in photographic creation because you will be satisfied to emotionally touch your audience.

The two best tools at your disposal are your photographic why and your photographic approach.

Do not disperse. Respect the photographic goals you have set for yourself.

If you have any doubts, if you have some difficulties to achieve your goals, keep in mind that my photo workshops were created to help you.

Be humble, patient, constant, persevering, and persistent because the road to excellence is long.


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I Want to Help You to Create Interesting Photos