Being a photographer you may come across criticism of your own work when you publish it. While some criticism is generally encouraged and a good idea, you need to remember to stay true to yourself no matter what your critics say.
Recently I travelled to Thailand on a photographic assignment for F Stop Lounge where I had the opportunity to photograph the famous Maya Beach with no one on it.
I packed my camera, 3 legged tripod named Brian and my set of Lee Filters and voyaged on an overnight escapade to capture some epic landscapes. What spurred the trip was visualisations of Maya Beach at night lit by only stars and the phosphorescence illuminating the lapping tide. It’s a photo I haven’t seen and it was one I wanted to capture.
As we all know as landscape photographers not everything goes to plan. When I arrived at the empty beach it was of course raining! Such a disappointment! With the weight of the epic visualised photo I had built up in my head now put down to a torrential downpour, I didn’t have many options except to look for some abstracts and attempt the shot I had come for.
I set my tripod up in the wet evening air and clicked away. This was the result, dust spots and all.
Although the location loomed a dreary disappointment of grey shades I figured I had to edit the shot in my own style and try and portray the way I remembered the photo in my mind, before even seeing the location. This can be quite a challenging mind struggle due to the number one question we sometimes ask ourselves:
What will people think if I use Photoshop to change and alter my image?
I know for me this was a constant struggle when I started out with my photography. I was constantly trying to alter my workflow to compensate for people’s comments and sometimes rather straight forward point of view. “You’re not a photographer if you use Photoshop”.
Frankly I got tired of comments and point’s of view very quickly and it almost cost me hanging up my camera for good.
What I found the most important thing to do in the end was to listen to yourself. You’re the only person who can recreate what you see. Trust in the way you see the world and then recreate it using whatever tools you can get your hands on, in my case this was and is Lightroom and Photoshop. I use these tools in various ways, for example like changing the colour of scenes (as I see the world differently from most due to my colourblindness), using the free transform tool and also using multiple layers and blending modes to create my own unique style.
The end result is a photograph the way I remembered it through my own eyes.
Here’s another typical example captured in the same bay pictured above. The photo on the left is how I captured it, followed by how I remember it.
Remember the next time you’re out and about photographing the world be sure to think to yourself how do I remember this scene, and how am I going to go about recreating it. Do this and you’ll go very far.