Creating a visual experience and the importance of injecting a piece of yourself as an artist in your photos


posted Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at 7:30 AM EDT


"Why do my photos suck?" This is a question, in one form or another, Blake Rudis of f64 Academy receives on a regular basis from his readers and viewers. The list goes on and on of the different ways people attack their own work and put themselves down as photographers. It's not unusual for someone to share their photos and not get the kind of reaction they had hoped for and when this happens, it's easy to feel down about it. 

While Rudis is an expert in Photoshop and does an excellent job of creating educational resources for photographers, he believes that the best way to counter feeling down about yourself as a photographer and your work is not with an adjustment layer or new Photoshop technique, but rather with an adjustment to how you approach photography itself. You need to be leaving a part of yourself as an artist in your images.

An important aspect to consider is that the way you felt when you captured an image. The experience you were having is not something easily transferred to the viewer of your image. Suppose you are out on a beautiful morning, enjoying a sunrise and you capture an image you love. You feel really good about the image because for you, wrapped up within that image is your experience of having been there and capturing the shot. A viewer of the image will not be approaching the shot with those same feelings, so there's a disconnect between your experience and the viewer's experience. While not easy by any stretch of the imagination, an important aspect of creating work you feel better about and getting the reactions to your images you desire is finding a way to inject your personal experience as an artist into the final product. A key component to finding your style is just that, finding a way to make your images uniquely your own.

There are obviously technical ways you can create your own style, such as editing in distinct ways in Photoshop, but before you can get to curves adjustments and color shifts, you need to figure out what feelings you want to evoke with an image and then determine which tools will best allow you to translate those feelings into a visual experience for your viewers. It won't always work out perfectly, of course, but figuring out who you are as an artist is an important step toward creating images you feel really good about. Watch Rudis' video below for his full discussion on attacking feelings of doubt and creating meaningful images.

(Via f64 Academy