11/06/2012

Using Pinterest for Inspiration



I'm a relative newcomer to the world of Pinterest but must admit to finding it quite addictive! Apart from being great fun, it's actually an amazing source for photography inspiration -  it's so easy just to pin an image that speaks to you or is in a style that you admire for future reference. For those of us learning photography, there is actually a lot more you can do with the images you find that will help you develop your own creative streak and start to channel your own personal photography style.  So, here's some ideas about making Pinterest work for you.....



1) First off, if you don't already have one, create a Pinterest account and start making up a photography  board with images that you find visually inspirational. Whenever you see a photograph that you like, pin it. Even just look around Pinterest itself and you'll find lots of images already pinned by others to start you off.

2) After you have a few images over the course of a few weeks, sit down and look at the images you have pinned. Is there a certain style that shows up again and again in your pinned images?  Perhaps you have a lot of classic black and white images, or maybe back-lit with sunflare is your thing? It can be interesting to see what type of photography you are drawn to as you can begin to translate this into the images you are creating.

3) Now look at a specific image. What was it was that made the image speak to you? Was it the light, the tones, the pose, the composition, the colors?  Picking apart the scene and seeing the important elements in it helps you to understand how to incorporate the things you like into your photographs.

4) Next, try to recreate an image that you have seen. I'm not talking down to the last nut and bolt here, but try to get the compositional or lighting elements right (whatever it was that spoke to you from that image) It's really not talking about taking an image and copying it down to the last detail, more about using it as a jumping off board then letting your own creativity take over.

It's definitely an interesting exercise to do if you have the time, it really does help train your eye to not just look at the beauty of a photo, but see the technical aspects behind the image too, which in turn helps you recreate inspiring images!

Feel free to have a look around my inspiration board on Pinterest to see some of the things that I like the look off - and start pinning to your board!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Was looking for the right post to make this comment - I think this it it. Also I'm going to mention someone else's work, I hope that's ok? Here goes. I joined clicknmoms & everyday it, like your blog, inspires me with beautiful photos. But the other day there was a session post by Emily Burke, a newborn photographer, of a shoot of a gorgeous Asian family in a gorgeous apartment. It killed me. Just beautiful creamy skin, stunning tones in color & b&w, amazing composition. I had just spent the day editing my fave photo I took of my daughter when she was 9 days old (one of the first pics I took with my first ever dslr) as well as hours understanding and applying the first set of actions I had ever bought. Of course my photo came nowhere close to the photos she posted. In this case I felt like giving up! Mainly bc I had absolutely no idea why her photos were so much better (I know bc she's a pro but what I mean is I can't pinpoint how to achieve her look technically) and it is disheartening! Did this ever happen to you? How did you get your motivation back?

Audrey said...

This happens to me all the time! Although Pinterest (and other forums like Clickin Moms) are a great source of inspiration, they can sometimes make you feel disheartened as you think you will never get your photos to look that good. What I find is that I never think my photos are good enough, even though a year ago I would have been delighted to get some of the shots I get now! believe it or not, i know pros struggle like this too! I try to remind myself it's a journey and compare my photos now to what I was taking a year ago, and see how much I have improved. As for trying to recreate a shot - it's a harder exercise than it first appears! I try usually just to stick to one element - the composition or the lighting for example, and realise that it will never come out the same (you could stick two photographers in a room with the same lighting, subject etc and I bet they would come out with entirely different shots) I'm currently battling a lack of motivation at the moment too, I find sometimes putting the camera down for a few days helps, or shooting something different. Photography is an amazingly difficult hobby - much harder than it first looks - but that's what makes it so exciting!

Anonymous said...

All wonderful advice thank you! It's true, looking back on some of my old photos I really have improved so hopefully I'll get better if I keep trying. I think I will still organise for some professional shots of our little family though rather than solely relying on my skills otherwise I could be waiting until I'm a grandma before having photos I'm happy with! But in the meantime at least I can try to document my little ones life to the best of my ability at the time. Ps I just love your blog thank you and I think your photos are gorgeous, callum is lucky to have such a beautiful record of his young life. The strawberry picking photos are my favorite. I still have a long way to go to capture images like you!

Audrey said...

I really should get professional photos done too - it's not easy to get one of all of you together so it takes the stress out of a bit! I've been meaning to try to do a family photo for ages but just never get around to it. Maybe next year! Thanks for your kind words about the blog! P.s I tried to find the images you mentioned on clickinmoms but couldn't find them - if you want to send me a link then I can look and see if I can help with the technical set up?

Anonymous said...

Hope this works:

http://www.clickinmoms.com/forums/showthread.php?t=238972

I've since spent more time looking at the work of more clicknmoms and there is an unending supply of images to admire! Emily's work caught me as I had just been working on editing the images of my daughter as a newborn. So wish I had hired a professional then!

Audrey said...

Oh they are so precious!! Some of the best newborn photos I've seen. I love how fresh and clean they look - no fuss and muted tones. The lighting looks natural too - if you look in the eyes of the baby when they are open you can see the square of the window, and also tell the position of the baby to the window. Neat little trick for learning which lighting was used and direction. I'm also guessing that she has done some post processing to smooth out the baby skin and remove any blotches etc (most newborns aren't quite so perfect looking ) and give it a bit of a glow. It looks a simple set-up but the key is probably the light. They are truly stunning - I don't think I could recreate that either! Did you do any portrait retouching on your baby's image?

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you are agree they are stunning, at least I know I can recognise good images when I see them .... and that is a great trick for working out the set up thanks, i will go back and examine the catchlights! Yes I tried retouching my daughter's skin by using PTM actions to remove red blotches& then smooth out skin and yes it improved my image 100% but it still didn't look like Emily's! (there was heaps of red in my daughters face in the particular image I was working on, I really wasn't starting out with a great image but I wanted to make it work) Also in my image you can tell the skin has been retouched, in Emily's you can't. The set up for my image was similar with the light coming in from one large window in the room - but my guess is maybe Emily's light was more directional and softer? And I love the grey blue throughout both the color and b&w plus the matching creams and neutral tones of the others. I dont know how she achieved that. I so wish I knew exactly what she did in post processing. Even converting to b&w stumps me, there are so many choices! I love radlab for that reason, but would still love to know how Emily did hers for these images.

Anonymous said...

Ps I wrote an email to the lovely Emily and she just replied with some great advice! basically that there are soooo many factors to take into account and it does take years to learn but not to give up. The shoot was from 1-4pm which really shocked me but makes me really want to study each room in my apartment every day & at all times of the day to find favorable light. She also suggested if I want to further my processing skills not working with actions until I really understand photoshop. And to start following the tutorials in clicknmoms. She also echoed your advice not to try to copy set-up/composition which just leads to frustration. It is so lovely that people like you and Emily are happy to share your knowledge and time thank you so much!

Audrey said...

I was going to say to you to try to contact her directly - that's one of the benefits of ClickinMoms - the worst they can say is no! The good news is you know what you don't know (did that make sense?!) so you can try to improve in those areas - by looking at the light in your apartment and what times of day are best in certain rooms, and positioning your subject in relation to it. Plus looking at processing in Photoshop - personally I would still use your actions (I love PTM actions - I have them too!) but learn how to get the best from them by lowering the opacity and blending different actions. If you would like me to take a look at the pic to see if I can do any better at editing (or whether you are getting the best out of your image in processing regardless of experience) then feel free to send it in. x

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your generous offer but I am just too embarrassed to send you the photo bc it's so bad! Lighting, white balance, posing - all terrible! Also my daughters face is so red & splotchy for some reason (it wasn't in other photos) that it might be mean to her to share it. The PTM and radlab actions did do a great job of fixing but I think editing works best when you start with a reasonable SOOC.

Oh and I think I may have misquoted Emily's advice, I think she meant not to use actions without going through & understanding what that particular action is doing (similar to your advice to play around with opacity etc). Anyway I'm using actions when I have to do quick edits & when I have more time I try to learn a few methods of pp. There sure is heaps to learn. Thanks again for your wonderful blog which makes the learning curve a lot smoother and fun!

Audrey said...

Editing is much easier if you can get most of it right in camera but newborns are hard I think - a lot of my newborn shots of Callum are horrible as he had jaundice and hence a yellow tone that I tried to calm down with some blue - didn't work too well! I think you need a certain level of expertise with newborn photography - most of us get one (or maybe two!) shots at it as our own children don't stay newborn long enough to hone our skills!

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