WHEN I was starting up in shooting fashion-inspired photos, I always had this burning desire to get photos similar to ones made by those whom I look up to in the industry. Photos printed in magazine and billboards are what inspire me to learn and understand how it’s done so I can get the same results.
I’ve attended a few workshops back then and of course I was excited to take photos of the model complete with all the styling, makeup and lighting prepared by the instructor. However, I would like to point out that I was more interested seeing the instructor do the shoot himself or at least talk about the thought process that occurs when he is shooting.
I’m interested on what he sees and the choices he makes when shooting. I try to break it down and understand each and every step so when I do it on my own, I can reference what I’ve learned and see the different results I get. In my case, the most effective learning process is when you’re doing it on your own and figuring it out all the mistakes.
Inspired by your learning from workshops and coupled with a lot of practice, you come out with some decent shots. Something will lead you to know that you’re progressing but you’ll also notice that something is missing. This is the time when you will have to figure out what you want and what makes it right for you.
The challenge becomes obvious that mimicking another photographer’s style becomes easy and giving it your take is somehow difficult. You are afraid that people might not find it appealing, so you go back and do what you do best by hiding under the cover of what’s known to be an appealing type of shot.
That’s another stage. That’s where you have to find yourself and start doing it your way, whether you get the approval of people or not. You’ll have to dig deep in yourself and find your heart. That’s where the passion is, that’s who you are, that’s your art.
As you fulfill every stage of your journey, you’ll realize that you’ve made a lot of progress based on your photos. The feeling you had when you took those shots will forever be imprinted on those images. That’s you, that’s your style.
A portfolio is never done. It is a visual gallery of who you are as an artist and what you want to show the world. It tells the tale of your journey and the many challenges you have taken. In the end, it’s your show and you don’t want to see another person’s take on your portfolio when you reminisce the past.
Build that portfolio and let it be the evidence of your work and art. Keep on shooting, everyone!