Stay Inspired

"Real talk. How do you stay inspired and creative when you shoot so much?"

I got this text from one of my photographers the other day. At first it made me chuckle and I almost went to my go to answer (music, lifestyle photography etc etc etc) And, YES I get it... I have written about this before. And YES, I have so many things I run to when I need inspiration. But this one stuck with me this time and it got me thinking a little bit differently for some reason.  This time I responded differently. And in so many words I responded with,

“To you, what is the greatest thing about this work we do? And do you LOVE it?” 

Thats annoyingly vague and even more annoyingly cliche. But, listen, let me lay a few things out first. I know for a fact I am not the most talented photographer in the world. I know it and I reference that fact often. I may not even be the most talented photographer in the SSP Collective. However I know that I love my work. That sounds so narcissistic... let me clarify. I have found what I want to do until the day I die. That is my anchoring point in the every day “ho-hum” details of what I do. And I OBSESS over it. I LOVE what I do.

But to get back to my original question... what keeps me inspired is the exact thing that keeps me obsessed with my work; the couple and the people I serve

When I look at a beautiful image that i have taken, I rarely see anything else but the couple. 

What I love more than anything else about photographing weddings is the connection I have with the people I serve on a daily basis. I love hearing their stories. I love seeing the look on their face when I get them to interact with each other during their portrait sessions. So when I am feeling uninspired, I lean in on that. And believe me I DO GET UNINSPIRED. We shoot 100+ weddings a year and half that in engagements and bridals. It happens!

But when it does I try to take a second from shooting with them and think about that connection. I ask more questions. I find out more about them. What is their story? How did they meet? What drew them to each other ? What is their love story? I try to remove the focus off of me, and what I am feeling in that moment and whatever it is that is causing me to make it about me, and put the focus back on them and what they share together.  Let me explain by showing you a few photos;

  I love this photo. And it's gone a bit "viral" sure. But what excites me about this photo is the couple. I remember talking to them during our consultation about chipotle and the redskins. I look at this image and think about how willing they were to let me try something different and how awesome they were about the torrential downpour on their wedding day. 

 

I love this photo. And it's gone a bit "viral" sure. But what excites me about this photo is the couple. I remember talking to them during our consultation about chipotle and the redskins. I look at this image and think about how willing they were to let me try something different and how awesome they were about the torrential downpour on their wedding day. 

  Here is another image I really love. Sure, the Milky Way is exploding forth in all of it's glory from their heads. But when I see this image I think of Dan and Mindy. And the story they shared with everybody about their struggles, about their faith and what motivates their love for each other. And honestly this one is not my favorite image from their day. This one is.

 

Here is another image I really love. Sure, the Milky Way is exploding forth in all of it's glory from their heads. But when I see this image I think of Dan and Mindy. And the story they shared with everybody about their struggles, about their faith and what motivates their love for each other. And honestly this one is not my favorite image from their day. This one is.

  Again the earth looks like it's on fire... (no this wasn't photoshopped... its the sun setting below the clouds. it was crazy) and it looks like its a love story being told on the last day before the apocalypse. But Ben and Laura are two of the best people I know. And I am reminded of that every time I see their images. 

 

Again the earth looks like it's on fire... (no this wasn't photoshopped... its the sun setting below the clouds. it was crazy) and it looks like its a love story being told on the last day before the apocalypse. But Ben and Laura are two of the best people I know. And I am reminded of that every time I see their images. 

Yes, I can absolutely do some technical things to keep posing, framing and composition fresh. And you can as well. Practically, pick 5 poses you love, and shot around those 5 poses. Get in tight, get wide, use some atmospheric technique… all of those things are great. But I would push you beyond that and encourage you to also find out what it is about your work you love. Have you ever asked yourself that question? Have you ever taken a few minutes to think about and find out what that is and if you are struggling through this fall season being uninspired, lean in on that one thing and let it move you to creating work you love.