Hopefully you now understand the mechanics of how to get various effects in your photos, so the next obvious step is to look at the composition of the shot.  This part is completely personal, but there is a good chance that you have some people whose photography you admire, and whose style you would like to be able to imitate.

At this point I’m going to tell you to embrace the policies of a book I picked up a wee while ago – Steal Like An Artist.  Now that doesn’t mean you download people’s photos and claim them as your own, but to follow a number of people that inspire you, and acquire ideas and adapt from all of them.

For example, say your particular passion is clothing photography:  you may have someone you follow that’s particularly good at posing their models – take a look at what makes them appealing, perhaps it’s that the models always stand in a certain way, or in a certain place.  Another person that you follow may be very good at finding backgrounds for their photos – look at what draws you to these backgrounds and see if you can think of anywhere that will allow you to do something similar.  A third person may be very good at styling their photos, adding the perfect accessories – look at what makes these little touches perfect.  Now bring all those ideas together, posing ideas from person one, background ideas from person two and styling from person three, and see if you can develop your own photographic style.

In order to be able to steal like an artist though, you’re going to have to find the artists to steal from, so that is your challenge for this month.  Make it a realistic task for yourself – if your chosen artist specialises in shots in the desert when you live half the year in 10 ft of snow, you may have a bit of a problem!  That’s not to say that they have nothing to give you, but just wishing for different weather conditions is not going to make it so ;o)

Where do you find them?  Well, there’s a few places you can look:

• Pinterest – this seems to be an obvious one, but there’s so much on there that it makes it challenging to sift through for what you want.  Try searching under the genres that particularly interest you as a starting point.
• Instagram – I use a site called Ink361.com, which allows you to view your photos from IG and print them on all sorts of substrates/use them in blog posts/view your feed (although the latter is a little flaky)  They have an IG account though, @ink361 and at several points throughout the day one of their ambassadors will post an inspirational photo.  Another inspiration feed is @natgeo, which is National Geographic’s feed and has a range of shots from different photographers on their staff.  Through these 2 accounts I’ve found quite a few people to follow just because they have beautiful photos – now the bonus of this is that these people usually only post once a day, or even only once or twice a week, so your feed isn’t going to get cluttered, but you will get little shots of inspiration throughout the day.
• Blogs – there’s actually an Ink361 blog too, which posts top 5-10 shots on a particular theme a few times a week, but I’m sure there are plenty of other blogs out there to inspire you in your particular area of passion.
• Websites – outside of blogs there are also no end of sites which can inspire you, for example retail sites, Etsy, Better Homes & Gardens, google your area of passion and fill yer boots!

Having built up your inspiration, try and get a few shots combining your mechanical knowledge of how to set the camera and your newly developing compositional style.

I look forward to seeing what inspires you :o)