Start Where you are……
It’s a rather well known phrase and I seem to keep stumbling across it recently. I usually see it used as business advice, and excellent advice it is too. If we keep telling ourselves we need to do one more training course, get a better logo, redesign our website, write at least a dozen blog posts etc., before we can start our business we will never actually take those first steps. So just “start where you are”, start that business with whatever you have and the rest will fall into place along the way.
But this isn’t really a blog for business advise, even though it is a topic I could talk all day about! I can’t help thinking though that the exact same advice can be applied to our photography, that we often put the same obstacles in the way of creating images.
You know the sort of excuse, I would take great landscape photos if only I could afford to travel to exotic locations, I would be an amazing still life photographer if only I had more space to shoot and store more props, I’d be great at portraits if only I could afford a studio, I’d be a much better photographer if only I could find something interesting to shoot.
And I’m sure there are many more excuses that we use to hold ourselves back.
But here’s the thing, if you start where you are, literally right where you are, with the ordinary everyday objects that are around you, if you learn to see light and find beauty in the everyday you’ll be ready to make the most of those amazing opportunities when they do arise.
You may not have lots of space for still life but you only need a tiny corner or a small table top as long as you keep your props small. Raid your kitchen and search the rest of your house for potential subjects. Fabric or free wallpaper samples can make great backdrops so you can be ready to shoot with minimal cost. Experiment, have fun and see what you can create with a tiny budget, a small space and window light.
If you want to shoot portraits don’t let the lack of a studio stop you. Why not try lifestyle or environmental portraits, if you can master natural light and learn to make interesting portraits whatever the location you’ll develop a really strong skill set and become a natural storyteller.
And you may not have the most fantastic landscapes on your doorstep but there’s nothing to stop you bringing your own unique vision and style to your immediate area to create something interesting. Or look for the small details within the landscape that are often ignored. And don’t forget a location might seem uninspiring to you if you see it on a daily basis but to many people it will be somewhere new.
So what’s holding you back from creating?
And what can you do to start where you are?