Thanks for writing.
I think the thing that helped me the most was looking carefully at the work of photographers who interested me and trying to consciously identify what I found compelling about it. Just bringing that to the surface was useful, similar to Freudian therapy or something.
I think that good creative work needs to carry a clear imprint of the artist’s mind - which is only available after they’ve cleared out/synthesized their influences, curiosity, shyness, nerves, etc. People who work from that place make stuff that you can identify the first time you see it - minds are pretty different.
Of course I never did this. It’s hard work and I got busy. But that’s what I would have worked towards.
Sorry if this sounds like bullshit!
As far as cropping, after looking around at pictures for a few years I found myself really sick, almost physically sick, of centered subjects and perfect noiseless crops (including the hundreds I’d taken myself). I just decided to make things as complex and shitty as I could to see if I could still control the frame.
I haven’t tried to work as a photographer for a few years, and when I did I wasn’t very successful at it, so I’m probably not the best person to ask. That said:
The long and short is that it is a very tough field. With ever better equipment available to all, and the wealth of ways people share images online, it’s both difficult to make a stylistic impression, and to get paid a living wage in the field.
There are various tricks you could employ to get more wow factor and probably more traffic to your work. A look at popular images on Instagram or Flickr would acquaint you with them quite quickly. I don’t recommend you do this.
My advice would be to search out what it is that you wish to say (or ask) with the camera. This will likely take you years, if not a lifetime to learn, which is fine. The best way to do that is to carefully consider work you love by others, and to read their words where possible.
The words of my friend Mark Powell are worth a hundred times what I’ve written here: http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2013/10/10/capturing-moments-of-complete-disorientation-interview-with-mark-powell-by-todd-gross/
Rule 1: go on your normal walk routine, to school, the store, the best most traveled routine works best and the object is to try to notice things you have never noticed before.
Rule 2 Always state before the thing you are noticing with the phrase ” I never noticed…¨ followed by thing you are noticing.
Rule 3. It has to be something that is relativley permanent or something that has been there for awhile and has never been noticed. eg, It can´t be a new piece of trash on the ground, but could be a sticker or graffiti mark. Also, very small things or insignificant marks usually considered not fair game. It is up to the players to decide if it warrants a true ¨I never noticed” score.
Rule 4 When something is ” I never noticed….” and you or any other player present at the time also has never noticed that particular thing, the player or noticer receives 10 points for noticing something unique and never noticed before— usually celebrated and acknowledged with “Wow , I never noticed that! ” or “Man, I wish I noticed that!”
On the other hand if one of the players has also noticed that before either from silent observation and or past games of I never noticed, The fellow player must state “I already noticed that before” and no points are awarded
Rule 5 first person to 100 points wins. If the full 100 points are not attained durring the routine they should be noted and continued until another day.
Please feel free to add and collaborate useful rules.