Will your images stand the test of time?

· March 8, 2012 · 12:36 am · Get Inspired, Uncategorized

Ok, we’ve all done it. We’ve all fallen into the TRENDY trap. I know I sure have more than a few times. But, is it really the smart thing to do? These are the questions that I have found myself asking lately and more often than not I find myself rethinking more than a few things. I mean, is being trendy and following the latest fads going to build a business that will stand the test of time or is it wiser to create images with timeless qualities that can be appreciated from generation to generation?  Also, does one have to give up the WOW FACTOR in order to create truly timeless images?

I’ve been in this business long enough to have seen more than a few fads come and go. If you’re anywhere near my age I’m sure you remember the double exposures that were so popular in the 1980s and for goodness sake let’s not even talk about the romantic brandy glass with a rose version that ran rampant back then! Fads have always been and will always be a part of the photography business, but is it prudent to build a business with doing little or nothing more than following the trends of the day? Let’s see, right now the soon be cliché’ images include the fake sun flare, balloons in the field, railroad tracks, HDR everything, glassy eyed children and of course the unnaturally (sometimes even dangerously) posed newborns. Believe it or not, there was actually a time when moms brought their newborns in and DEMANDED that they be photographed with their eyes opened while fully dressed!

Do I think all fads should be avoided;  absolutely not. Some of them actually speak very loudly to my personal sense of style while others make me want to run for the hills. So, how do I know where to draw the line? Quite honestly, it’s not always easy to slow down long enough to truly reflect on every decision I make. But, it is becoming something that I find myself doing more and more of these days. I have found that forcing myself into a corner and demanding a few answers about my own actions is not only refreshing but extremely revealing. You see, that’s what an artist is suppose to do. We have to check ourselves every now and then to stay true to our individual sense of style. We simply can’t remain true to ourselves as artists if we spend all of our time following the current trends (aka: FADS) of this industry.

So with this self reflection comes some much needed personal reality checks. With it also comes some need for a bit of change which I hear can be a very good thing in this business! I’ve decided to recommit to staying true to myself as an artist and in doing so I feel driven to create more images that will stand the test of time. One thing I have discovered about myself and my work in recent years is that creating timeless work does NOT mean one has to create boring work. What this does mean is that I will work harder to create an impressive image based on merits that have little or nothing to do with current fads. That means I’ll be concentrating more than ever before on the truly important things like facial expressions instead of leaning on trendy techniques or posing to get that wow factor! How big of a change will this be in the immediate future? Well thankfully there are only a handful of trends that truly bother me or hinder my ability to stay true to my personal style and in recent months I have been avoiding those fads as much as possible. Do I still sometimes pose babies unnaturally? Not nearly as much as I did this time last year and I have even managed to whittle the frog babies and dangling babies down to what is quickly becoming a rare client request. I honestly think that more and more of those modern minded moms are growing tired of some of the weird things being done with newborns. There are only a few changes that I’ve made in my efforts to create more timeless images and I think my clients really enjoy the fact that they have hired a true artist. I mean anyone can hire a very good photographer who simply follows the latest trends, but it takes a little something more to create images that actually say something about the individual artist. So if you’re playing that age old game of follow the leader then perhaps it’s time for you also to start asking yourself a few questions, making a few changes and get to know that inner artist that drove you to start a photography business.  I for one don’t want my current work to end up in the bottom drawer right next to grandma’s double exposures, especially if she’s in the brandy glass!

~Cindi Kay McDaniel, Cr. Photog., CPP

 

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a Photographer's Blog

Sometimes a girl’s gotta say what a girl’s gotta say and so I’ve created an entirely new place for me to do just that. I have been a photographer for over 25 years so I like to think I have much to share about the business of photography. I have learned many difficult lessons over the years while building my business and I now find myself on a mission to help others by teaching them how to avoid the pitfalls of this business. I’ve decided to share as much as I possibly can about my experiences in the world of photography including the good, the bad and the really ugly stupid. I’ve also decided to share some tips and tricks on how to DO IT RIGHT and that includes sharing how I learned from my mistakes and found myself as an artist. It hasn’t been an easy road, but it certainly has NEVER once been a boring journey. I hope you’ll join me here on my new blog as I take you down memory lane, teach you a few new tricks and even offer some heartfelt advice to those who have chosen professional photography as their career path. Over the years, I have helped many up & coming photographers to develop their skills and I have enjoyed each and every moment of it. I have accomplished a great deal more than I ever dreamed I would behind the camera including winning the coveted FujiFilm Masterpiece Award, the Kodak Gallery Award as well as having the honor of being awarded the Photographic Craftsman's Degree from Professional Photographer's of America. Mix that in with a few 1st Place print competition awards a "Best of Show" and "Photographer of the Year" and hopefully you have the makings of a few good stories.

Cindi Kay McDaniel, Cr. Photog., CPP