Why and How: Developing a Photographic Mindset in 5 Steps
You may think that creating creative and artistic photographs only requires a camera, lens, technical skills, and a photographic culture.
It is a good start.
You must add an essential element: the photographic mindset.
In this article, I am going to explain why and how to develop it using 5 steps.
Definition of the Term "Mindset"
In areas related to emotions and human nature, there are many definitions for "mindset".
I chose the one that seems to me the most suitable for this article.
The mindset is the mentality that a person has. It is a psychic state of emotions and moods. A person's mindset is an inner attitude.
Applying “Mindset” to Photography
I believe that photography is an artistic form allowing you and I to express our emotions and feelings, to convey messages, and even to represent a personal aesthetic.
To express yourself with photography, you must develop and use a photographic language. With this language, you can translate what you feel and who you are through your personality. In other words, you can transmit your mindset through your photographic creations.
It is for this reason that you must develop and maintain your photographic mindset.
When you are in the field during photo sessions, you can translate moods without getting lost.
Like me, if you feel this need, this desire to express yourself without using speech, you must adopt an interior attitude through photography.
In the rest of this article, I will explain how to accomplish this using my uniquely crafted method. It has proven itself in my professional activity and in my photo workshops. This is one of the goals of my ACANP method.
Why Should You Develop a Photographic Mindset ?
The answer to this question is very simple.
The quality of your photographs depends entirely on the quality of your photographic mindset. The better you define it, the more it will be structured. As a result of your clear outline, your photographs will make sense and will be more interesting for an audience of people who appreciate your photographic approach.
Step 1: Understanding Why You Are Practicing Photography
To develop a solid, lasting, coherent, and consistent photographic mindset, I advise you to answer an essential question. Why do you practice photography?
Likewise, if you use photography as an art form, why do you practice this photographic art?
By answering these essential questions, you have taken an essential first step. Your answer provides insight into your photographic mindset, allowing you to limit your photographic activity.
By setting limits, you will not get lost in the twists and turns of creativity. You will be consistent in the creation of your photographs.
If you know why you are taking photos, you will always know how to react on the field. You will know how to develop your photographs. Finally, you will know how to present and display them.
Clearly defining your goals and objectives is the basis of the process of creating a photographic mindset.
Step 2: Creating Photographs by Passion
I also recommend that you take photographs with passion and not with envy.
Today, with the intensive development of digital and social networks, it has become fashionable for many photographers to show off. I do not mean to show selfies, but to brag that they travelled to such and such country, that they participated in this event and that they met that personality. All these photographs have no interest because they have no meaning. They simply serve to flatter the ego of the photographers who took them. Publishing these photos simply shows that these photographers exist. They take photos to spark envy rather than taking photos as a product of passion.
If you decide to create photographs with passion and refrain from “bragging” about your daily life or vacation, you are going to take a second important step in the development of your photographic mindset.
Step 3: Learning How to Create Photographs That Resemble You
Even if you apply step 2 and you have decided to create photos with passion, it is not enough to create a true photographic mindset.
For me, an essential point is creating photos that look like you. “Why?” you may ask.
The answer is simple: because you are unique.
If you take photographs that look like you, you will create unique images that will interest a certain number of people. There is only one you. Others will begin to appreciate your photographic activity. They will encourage you. You will be motivated. You will continue to be creative and take interesting photos. It is this virtuous circle which is at the base of the creation of interesting photos.
You will thus strengthen your photographic mindset.
Step 4: Defining Uour Photographic Consciousness
I have already addressed this subject of photographic consciousness in another article. Knowing how to situate yourself in relation to other photographers, not on a scale of values but in terms of artistic positioning, is essential.
You can take inspiration from the photographic approach of other photographers, but you should never copy. You are unique. You are an exception. Be yourself.
The development of a photographic consciousness allows you to remove doubts about the creative axes that you choose. It allows you to follow your objectives and achieve the goals you have set.
Step 5: Using Photography as a Means of Expression
As far as I am concerned, photography is an art form that evokes a meditative state. When I start a photographic project or when I am on the field creating new images, I always answer this question: why am I photographing?
Photography reveals a quest. Mine is to understand the role I have in this world. It allows me to define my place in what is called humanity. What is my role? Why am I here?
You may think that my answer sounds a little strange and has nothing to do with photography. However, I think it is just the opposite. It is precisely the fact of having answered these questions that I found a meaning to give to my life.
I chose nature as a photographic theme. It is an intimate echo of my revealed unconscious, it answers my questions, my doubts, and my expectations.
Photography forced me to see the world differently. The photographic works that I create are like a mirror of the world around me.
If you want to develop a strong photographic mindset with a deep sense of self-expression, you must make images that reveal your deepest moods. These are the ones that are buried in your subconscious.
I really believe that one way to use photography is to think of it as a catalyst that brings together your deepest and most secret thoughts. I am talking about the thoughts that we cannot formulate.
The silence of photographs speaks invisible words.
It is for all these reasons that photography finally reveals a quest for the meaning of life.
Taking photographs is more than just pressing a camera button or an icon on a mobile device. It is a mechanical gesture that is the purpose of everything you wish to express and transmit.
My advice for you is to take time to develop a true photographic mindset. This will help you to take photographs that resemble yourself, and as a result, you will better express yourself through the means of photography.