When it comes to personal photography — what is the difference between a truly meaningful and memorable image, and a aimless snapshot?
The answer is simple: integrate your soul into your photographs.
The problem with most of our photography is that we look outside of ourselves to make photos. We look for exotic things in the external world.
We travel the world, to go to places where nobody has gone before, to capture unseen things. We (wrongly) think that photographing the exotic is what makes an interesting, meaningful, and memorable photograph.
Rather, what truly makes a meaningful image is embedding your soul into your photo-making process.
What do you see in your photos?
There are trillions of images out there. What makes your photography different and unique?
When your viewer looks at your photograph, can they sense who you are as a human being? Can they get a sense of your soul?
Are you the only person who could have photographed a certain scene, the way that you did?
How to integrate your soul into your photos
If you want to integrate your soul into your photos, here are some tips I would give you:
1. Shoot from your gut
When you’re out on the streets or photographing wherever, follow your gut. Don’t over-analyze when you’re clicking.
Follow your intuition. If you find something interesting to your eye, just click. Figure out what to do with your photographs afterwards.
The reason why we want to follow our gut is because you are generally only interested in photographing what is meaningful to you.
Therefore if you photograph what is meaningful to you, it says something about you. It says something about your life experiences, your world-perspective, and your soul.
2. Add your own spin
Anyone can make a photograph of the Eiffel tower. If you did visit Paris, and you wanted to embed your soul into a photograph relating to the Eiffel tower— how could you put your own spin on it? How could you photograph it a little differently, that nobody else (but you) could photograph?
Does that mean putting yourself in the image, and making a self-portrait of yourself? Or perhaps adopting a different perspective or angle which represents how you view it?
Everything has been photographed before — but it all depends on how you add your own spin, your own take, your own 2 cents.
3. Make it personal
Lastly, try to make your photos personal. Don’t photograph the exotic and outside world. Try to photograph those close to you.
Photograph your loved ones. Photograph yourself. Photograph your co-workers. Photograph people in your neighborhood.
Photography should be a journey of self-exploration and self-discovery.
Don’t make photos to please others. Rather, make photos to please yourself. Make photos to understand who you are, why you are, and how you see the world.
Gain inner-truth and ‘know thyself’ through your photography.
I have great faith in you.
Learn more: Personal Photography 101 >