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Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Always Take The Next Step

Progressing as a photographer and artist means striving to see things in a new way

Although I've used only two images here for example's sake, in actuality, you'd place a new image next to all the images in that group to make the comparison. This can be done on the computer, with prints or with slides on a lightbox. Just make sure to use a simple, clean background and format. With practice, you can refine your themes and continually improve the group's overall quality.

To summarize, here's a list of steps that might help you reach the next level for your photography:
  • Explore what themes you have in your files, especially those about which you're most inspired and passionate.
  • Practice organizing images based on a theme.
  • Establish a consistent standard of quality.
  • Research other photography that has the same themes that interest you and improve your visual literacy in your field.
  • Examine the possible contexts in which you might use your images. Thinking about how you might use a certain group of images may help guide you in your editing.
I suggest that you don't force new images into a portfolio. It's better to add only one or two than dilute the prime group with weaker images. Adding no new images is okay, too. Give yourself time to consider your choices. Ansel Adams always talked about making a print and then placing it out where he'd see it often. Look at your new images for a while by themselves. We've all had images we originally thought were great, only to have them fall from grace with time! For those that still hold your interest, find a way to group the new ones with the "golden ones," whether by using work prints tacked on the wall or thumbnails on your computer screen.

Given the time constraints of everyday life, creating new photographs that qualify for your favorite portfolios is difficult. Creative inspiration tends to ebb and flow, as I'm sure you've experienced. With practice and persistence, however, you'll make the next step!

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