Why and How: Developing a Photographic Mindset in 5 Steps
You may think that creating creative and artistic photographs only requires a camera with a lens, technical skills and a photographic culture.
It is a good start.
You must add an essential element: the photographic mindset.
In this article, I am going to explain in 5 steps why and how to develop it.
Definition of the Term "Mindset"
As often in areas related to emotions and human nature, there are many definitions for "mindset".
I chose the one that seems to me the most suitable for this article.
The mindset is the mentality that a person has. The mindset is a psychic state, in particular an emotional state concerning mood, emotions.
A person's mindset is an inner attitude.
Application to Photography
I believe that photography is for you as for me, an artistic form allowing you to express your emotions, to show your feelings, to express messages or even how you perceive aesthetics.
In order to express yourself with photography, you will use a photographic language that you must develop. With this language, you will translate what you feel, what you are, your moods, your personality. In other words, you will transmit your mindset through your photographic creations.
This is for this reason that you must develop and maintain your photographic mindset.
When you are in the field during photo sessions, you can translate your moods without getting lost.
If, just as me, you feel this need and this desire to express yourself without using speech, you must adopt an interior attitude which uses photography as a means of expression.
Developing a photographic mindset, is to place yourself in a model and a thought system in which you will use the photographic medium to express yourself.
In the rest of this article, I will explain how to do it. This method is only mine. It has proven itself in my professional activity and during my photo workshops. This is one of the goals of my ACANP method.
Why Developing a Photographic Mindset ?
The answer to this question is very simple.
The quality of your photographs depends entirely on the quality of your photographic mindset. The better you define it and the more it will be structured, the more your photographs will make sense and the more they will be interesting to create an audience of people who appreciate your photographic approach.
Step 1: Knowing Why you Are Practicing Photography
To develop a solid, lasting, coherent and consistent photographic mindset, I advise you to answer this essential question : why do you practice photography?
Likewise, if you use photography as an art form, why do you practice this photographic art?
If you answer these essential questions, you will take an essential first step. The answer that you are going to state will allow you to limit all your photographic activity.
By setting limits, you are not going to get lost in the twists and turns of creativity. You will be consistent in the creation of your photographs.
If you know why you are taking photos, you will always know how to react in the field. You will also know how to develop your photographs. Finally, you will know how to present and show them.
Clearly defining your goals and objectives is the basis of the process of creating a photographic mindset.
Step 2: Creating Photographs by Passion
I also recommend that you take photographs by passion and not by envy.
Today with the intensive development of digital and social networks, it has become fashionable for many photographers to show off. I do not mean to show selfies, but to show that they go to such country, that they participate in such event and that they meet such personality. All these photographs have no interest because they have no meaning. They just serve to flatter the ego of the photographers who took them. Publishing these photos is just to show that these photographers exist. They take photos by envy and not by passion.
If you decide to create photographs by passion and not to show others what you do in your daily life or during your vacation, you are going to take a second very important step in the development of your photographic mindset.
Step 3: Learning How to Create Photographs That Look Like You
Even if you apply the step 2 and you have decided to create photos by passion, it is not enough to create a true photographic mindset.
For me, an essential point is that you manage to create photos that look like you. Why ? Are you going to ask me.
The answer is simple : because you are unique.
If you take photographs that look like you, you will create unique images that will interest a certain number of people. They will begin to appreciate your photographic activity. They will encourage you. You will be motivated. You will continue to be creative and take interesting photos. It is this virtuous circle which is at the base of the creation of interesting photos.
You will thus strengthen your photographic mindset.
Step 4: Defining your Photographic Consciousness
I had already addressed this subject of photographic consciousness in another article. Knowing how to situate yourself in relation to other photographers not on a scale of values but in terms of artistic positioning is essential.
You can take inspiration from the photographic approach of other photographers but never copy. You are unique. You are an exception. Be yourself.
The development of a photographic consciousness allows you to remove doubts about the creative axes that you choose. It allows you to follow the objectives and achieve the goals you have set.
Step 5: Using Photography as a Means of Expression
As far as I am concerned, photography is an art form that creates a meditative state. When I start a photographic project or when I am in the field to create new images, I always answer the question : why am I going to photograph?
Photography reveals a quest. Mine is to understand the role I have. It allows me to define my place in what is called humanity. What is my role ? Why am I here?
It may sound a little strange and have nothing to do with photography. But I think it is just the opposite. It is precisely the fact of having answered these questions that I found a meaning to give to my life.
I chose nature as the photographic theme. It is an intimate echo of my revealed unconscious. It says my questions, my doubts, my expectations.
Photography forced me to look differently. The photographic works that I create are like the mirror of the world around me.
If you want to develop a strong photographic mindset with a deep sense, you have to make images that reveal your deepest moods. These are the ones that are buried in your subconscious.
I really believe that one way to use photography is to take it as a catalyst that brings together your deepest and most secret thoughts. I am talking about the thoughts that we cannot formulate.
The silence of the photographs is like invisible words.
It is for all these reasons that photography finally reveals a quest for the meaning of life.
Taking photographs is more than just pressing a camera button or an icon on a mobile device. It is just a mechanical gesture that is the purpose of everything you want to express and transmit.
In order to express yourself better, one of my advices is that you start to develop a true photographic mindset adequate to take photographs which look like you and which have a sense.