Be a Photographer Now

Ha Long Bay, 2017 #cindyproject
Ha Long Bay, 2017 #cindyproject

Dear friend,

No matter what your situation in life is, there is no better time for you to be a photographer than now.

It doesn’t matter if you have a 9-5 job, a family, little free time, whether you live in a boring place, or whether you started photography late in life.

The world is your oyster. There are infinite possibilities and infinite “decisive moments” for you to photograph everywhere around you.

No matter how “boring” your environment may be; there will always be opportunities for you to photograph.

1. Photograph your loved ones

If you are a family person, make your family the focus of your photography. Photograph your family as if they would pass away tomorrow.

Photograph your grandparents, your parents, your children, your siblings, your cousins, or any close kin.

If you don’t have any close family, photograph your friends. Don’t just take photos of your friends posing— try to catch them unaware. Moments when they reveal their real soul through their body language, the moment they forget about you, or during a moment they are distracted.

Or learn how to photograph portraits of your loved ones. Start off simple — photograph them against a simple white wall. Study the work of Richard Avedon to gain inspiration. Start off by having them look into the lens and to “not smile.” Do a mini portrait-session with them. You don’t need fancy lighting equipment. Do it with the camera you already own. Use a flash that is built into your camera, or even use the flashlight on your smartphone and diffuse it with some tissue.

2. Photograph yourself

The most ancient wisdom known to man is “Know thyself.” Take a modern spin on it— “Photograph thyself.”

If you have no subjects to photograph, photograph yourself. Photograph your own shadow, your own reflection in the mirror, a shadow of yourself, a reflection of yourself in a puddle, or put your camera on a tripod and photograph yourself.

There is no vanity in self-portraiture. Self-portraits are about self-examination. About having you become comfortable on the other side of the lens.

If you are uncomfortable photographing yourself, how can you expect to photograph others?

3. Photograph your home

Your home is boring to you, because you see it everyday. But if you are a total stranger, and you went into your own home — what would you find unique, interesting, or weird?

Photograph your bed sheets. Photograph what is inside your closet or refrigerator. Photograph your bathroom or toilet. Photograph your couch, your furniture, or old family portraits hanging on the walls.

Often your home is an externalization of yourself. Meaning, you show your personality, your preferences through the environment you construct around yourself. Often when I visit the homes of my friends, I can see their personality through the way they decorate their rooms, through the books on their bookshelves, and their possessions.

4. Photograph your own city

As photographers we get suckered into thinking that other cities are more interesting than ours. In reality, we all live in a boring city — no matter whether we live in Tokyo, NYC, or Paris. Nobody is happy where they live— because they eventually get bored of the same sights. It is human nature.

The truly creative photographer is the one who is able to make the best out of their own city. To photograph their own city like it were the most interesting place on earth.

In-fact, the more boring your city, the more difficult it is to make “interesting” photographs. This will force you to be more creative.

Experiment with photographing the urban landscape of your city, by shooting “street portraits” of strangers you meet, or capture candid moments of people shopping at the grocery store. For good inspiration of capturing “beauty in the mundane” I recommend looking at the work of William Eggleston or Stephen Shore.

5. Don’t delay

Don’t delay your photography for some distant future. Don’t rely on retiring and finally traveling the world, and becoming a good photographer. Don’t wait until you have that holiday to take photos.

Shoot now. Be a photographer now, because there is no better opportunity for you to photograph than the present moment, and the present day.


Learn more: Motivation >