Inspiration and influence are important to every creative person. Being motivated to pick up your camera and make fabulous photographs is an essential part of your on-going development. But how to find inspiration for your photography?
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Always taking the same subjects, using the same lighting. Sticking with a composition style because you are comfortable with it. This will make you creatively stagnant. But how do you avoid that? Especially if you have enjoyed this method for some time.
Find motivation in other photographers’ work
Stat motivated by looking at the pictures by photographers whose work you admire. I’m not talking about drawing an emotional charge from the photo of your girlfriend’s lunch she’s posted on Instagram. Find some successful photographers who have good collections of images that you love.
Bookmark their website. Buy a real physical book of their work. Follow the photographer on Instagram. Research to find documentaries about the way they work and think. Find out what motivates and inspires them.
If you are not sure where to start, look at your own photos, especially ones you want to improve upon. What style are the images? What are your subjects? Are the images predominantly color or black and white? Search for photographers who like what you do and follow them.
Check the source
To find the best, look at where their work is published. Or check out photographer’s collectives, such as Magnum. Or research which photographers have won major photography competitions, like Pulitzer or the Sony Photography Awards.
These days there are few magazines specializing in picture stories. National Geographic is always good for inspiration in general. Look up some of the historic magazines like Life, Picture Post, and Look. These magazines featured top photographers. The best fashion magazines may be a good place to look to trigger your creativity.
The internet is also a massive source, but be careful. Anyone can publish their photos online (we all do) and call themselves an expert. Sources of photographs which are not self-published generally are more credible. I think you are more likely to find more experienced, successful photographers will have a body of work you can admire. But do look at Instagram and photo sharing sites like 500px. Seek inspiration from the best you can find in the genres you love the most.