FINDING INSPIRATION IN PHOTOGRAPHY (AMA)
ASK ME ANYTHING: EPISODE 001
Hi friends! A few weeks back I ran a Q&A / AMA (Ask Me Anything) on my Instagram - (see the post above). I've gathered a few of the most interesting questions and thought I'd share them with you via this blog post. I've grouped together a few of the questions that were similar. Thanks for all your questions!
A. For desktop editing: Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop. I highly recommend looking into split tones, tone curve, gradient/radial filters & the adjustment brush for colour grading in Lightroom!
For mobile: VSCOcam, Photoshop, Snapseed, Lens Distortions.
Q. Have you ever lost your inspiration and decided to stop taking photos?
A. Yes, it happens quite often. In fact, I think I'm currently in another unmotivated and uninspired phase right now. It really sucks, depressing even. It feels as though you'll never be able to climb out of that creative rut. Everything is dull and boring and nothing seems to excite you anymore.
I think it's super important to know that this feeling is completely normal! It is part of being a creative. All creatives go through phases and cycles of being super inspired, mixed with dramatic periods of feeling uninspired. Know that it is normal to experience this, then come up with a plan a way to work your way out of that rut. For some it is a matter of putting down photography and doing something else, whilst others like to power through it with more work.
Whatever your method is, just know that it is normal.
Q. Which photos of yours do you like the most?
A. The photos of my own that I like the most aren't on social media, or any other public platform. They are not particularly good, but they have more memories and sentimental value. Take the photos below for example. The first photo is one of my favourite Geisha photos by @_tuck4, the next is my poor attempt at it.
It is one of my favourite photos from Japan. When I got to Kyoto, I knew I had to try and nail a similar photo to Tuck's. We wondered around Kyoto for days when I accidentally stumbled across the exact same spot. We came back to the spot the same night and waited around for seemed like forever.
Obviously, it is nowhere near the standard of Tuck's photo, but the fact that I actually found the same exact spot and got a photo of a Geisha in the light of the vending machine was enough for me. Spewing that there was a van parked to the left too -_-
Q. What are some advantages with being partly colour-blind?
A. As a photographer, I think it gives me a unique perspective and helps shape my aesthetic and edit style. I shoot & edit to what I think looks good, which has worked out well so far (I think). When colour accuracy matters (for e.g. product photograph commercial jobs etc), there are methods around it - asking friends, using colour pickers & colour wheels, using grey cards (thanks for the tip @phil.yoon).
Q. What are some elements that make a good shot? And where do you think photography is going in the next 10 years?
A. Generally, I feel that the best photos with a lasting impact usually have a strong narrative - they either tell a great story or leave enough room for the viewer to inject their own thoughts and feelings into it. Great photos age well - photos you'll look at in 1-10 years time and still think that they're great.
This is why I don't think the fundamentals of photography will change much in 10 years time. It's usually a good test to regularly look back at your old photos and see which ones you like & don't like, then ask yourself why.
Q. Why is your name “itchban”? Does it come from the Japanese word "いちばん" ?
A. Yep! Not a lot of people catch that. I like the phrase (first, number 1) and needed a gaming name when I was younger. I had to spell it funny because "ichi-ban" was already taken everywhere. It kinda stuck after that.
A. Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 35mm f/1.4 lens. Not going to lie, I bought this camera because it looked cool, but I'm glad I did because it got me into photography.
For beginners, I'd recommend starting with their iPhone / smartphone. They are more than capable of taking great photos these days, and they are much simpler than using a full featured DSLR or mirrorless. That way, you can focus more on learning about the basics of photography - lighting, contrast, colours, composition, narrative first. You will know that you are ready for a camera upgrade when you start to notice all the shortcomings of the smartphone camera (that's a sign that you're ready to move on).
A. See photo to the right.
I tried to get a #fromwhereistand selfie on the top edge of a running waterfall. As I was walking towards the edge (which was slightly sloped downwards) I slipped a little on the mossy surface.
Luckily I regained balance and didn't fall over on my ass or I would have certainly slide off the waterfall to my death. At that point I was by myself at that section of the waterfall (friends were up at the top), so they would have no idea where I had gone or that I had died. So scarred from that near death experience haha never again.
Don't do it. It's not worth it!
Q. How do you build yourself as a photographer / creator both online and in your community?
A. Take as many photos as you can. Create as much work as often as you can. Share that work as much as you can. By doing so, you'll improve faster and hopefully find your audience at the same time. If you do great work, people will notice.
Q. How can someone starting out in photography use Instagram as a platform to make money?
A. Try not to be too focused on making money, especially on Instagram. I think Instagram as a platform is most powerful when you use it to build your brand and presence. If you start out on Instagram with the sole intention to make money from your followers, they will catch on and it won't go down well. Instead, do cool things and people will want to be a part of that by supporting your work.
Q. How long have you been into Photography & Videography?
A. I have been into photography about 4 years (self-taught), and have only just recently got into videography & filmmaking (less than a year at this point). There's so much more to learn & do, and that excites me a lot! :D
Q. What is the best way to find your own photography style?
A. I feel everyone starts with this struggle. Take a lot of photos, of every genre - try everything. Experiment and iterate a lot. Over time you will find which genres of photography really get you fired up. You'll also start to notice certain editing styles that you keep coming back to and redoing. Instead of looking for your photography style, let it come to you. It is more natural that way (and less stressful).
Q. Are there any photos you keep to yourself in order to not spoil a location?
A. Not exactly. I believe that locations should be shared. I mean, what is the point of hiding a location and keeping it to yourself? You've already taken the photo. After that, it is time for you to go discover and explore newer places.
That said, there was a certain location that I didn't openly give out (photo to the right). I may have been one of the first to shoot that spot in that composition.
I went out of my way to avoid telling people where it was. I didn't do this because I didn't want them to visit it - it was the oppposite actually. I wanted them to visit it, but I wanted them to find it themselves. It is much more rewarding to search for a location yourself and end up finding it! That experience alone is probably more satisfying than actually visiting the location.
On top of that, it's a crucial skill in photography (and life) to be able to figure things out on your own sometimes. P.S. the name of the location is out already if you look hard enough.
Q. How much does colour science of the camera (Canon vs. Fuji vs. Sony etc) affect the final image?
A. If you know your way around Lightroom and colour grading, I think you can get the RAW files of each camera to how you want it. There are clear differences in the way that each brands camera bodies and lenses render colour. IMHO Canon easily has the best colours #canonfam.
That's it for now! Be sure to get involved in the next Q&A/AMA I host. It'll most likely be on Instagram & Twitter for the next round.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below.