What’s Your Newest Inspiration?

I feel that inspiration is an important driving mechanism for photographers. Its the thing that pushes us to take photos and improve ourselves. And the interesting thing about inspiration is that everybody’s is different, yet it drives us to do similar things (like photography).

The other day, my friend Vivien from InspirationBit asked me what my new sources of inspiration are this year. I’ve written about my sources of inspiration in the past, but it was a good question to ponder at the start of the new year. Here was my response:

I’m going to have to say that my new darkroom is quickly becoming my inspiration for photography. There’s something magical in loading a piece of film into the enlarger and creating a photo from light, paper, and a few chemicals. The tactile and visual qualities of paper far outweighs the additional cost of printing. Seeing one of your own photos on a silver-gelatin print is pretty amazing. So with that, I’ll be shooting a fair amount of black and white film this year. I’ve also discovered the awesomeness of printing from medium format film, so I’ve vowed to get more use out of my old Twin Lens Reflex (which is crazy-sharp even though it’s over 50 years old)!

[UPDATE] Vivien has posted her blog post displaying answers from select bloggers she contacted.

So I’m turning Vivien’s question to all of you now. I’d like to hear about your newest source of inspiration and how it’s impacted your work.

What’s the latest thing (or person) that gets you fired up about photography?

What direction is your newfound inspiration pushing you?

14 thoughts on “What’s Your Newest Inspiration?

  1. marctonysmith

    My year is starting out with a bang: A 2 week business trip to Thailand. This seemed like a good excuse to get an ultra-wide angle lens, just to make sure I could get full shots of the architecture and street scenes. Then, of course, I need to practice to make sure I understand how to use this new lens. There’s nothing like a new type of lens to open new photographic possibilities and inspire new styles of composition.

  2. Tasha

    Great idea for a post, Brian – it really got me thinking!

    Aside from all the wonderful contacts I have on Flickr, whom always inspire me and make me excited about photography, I think lately, I have two driving inspirations:

    I work very closely with a local band (Last Fast Action), and they’ve been heading in a more dance-y, pop direction, which calls for a different type of promo photo than the normal “rock” photos that I do. Because of them, I’ve started thinking WAY outside of my normal style – with posing, with lighting, and with props.

    Also, I have a wonderful husband who has bought me a new camera (5D Mk II) and a new lens (15mm fisheye) in the last month or so – and both are really inspiring me to take pictures of EVERYTHING. New gear is always good for creativity! :)

  3. Richard Cave

    Using simpler forms and shapes and keeping colours as simple as possible. I am looking at mach and feminine lighting. I will apply this to a project which I am undecided on in the near future.

    My promise of last year of helping and assidting established and upcoming photographers was very successful.



  4. D. Travis North

    My new lens, a Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF. I had the manual focus cousin of this lens for my Nikon N2000 (film) camera, but it never reported metering info on my D80 DSLR. Unless I had the time to do a lot of manual calculations, I was basically without a good fast lens for a long while (about two years). I was limited to an aperture of f/3.2. Needless to say, this is a happy addition to my DSLR setup.

    The lens is inspiring me to focus more on the details – closeup shots of small details of architecture or the landscape. I feel that I am once again able to experiment with DOF, which is thus far turning out to be a major driving force in my work thus far this year.

    New equipment is always a good driving force – inspiration from a different source.

  5. Michael Warf

    My biggest change to my workflow was the addition of a cintiq 12″ tablet. No longer having a disconnect between monitor and tablet has sped up retouching a ton! Now all I need is an additional graphics card so I can reconnect my second monitor.

  6. matt

    interesting post, inspiration is always a good topic as with any creative endeavor, getting and remaining inspired is an ongoing, uphill struggle. the ocean has always, and remains, one of my strongest sources of inspiration. though, lately i’ve become engaged with very long exposures which has lead me to approach composition differently than i would have otherwise.

  7. the_wolf_brigade

    For me, Alex is the master of medium format b/w portraits. This inspired me to follow my own obsessions with portraits, leading to a recent family shoot on large format. The negatives are almost the same size as the standard prints I used to get from my 35mm shots….

    I guess experimentation is the key. I gain inspiration from learning new techniques. Doing things that no one I know is doing. I get a massive kick out of knowing that I’m all self taught.

    That and this blog. I’ve said it before, but you’ve really helped me push the boudaries of what I thought I could achieve. I’m even shooitng more digital as a result, translating your advice from this website into techniques I now finally understand!

  8. laanba

    Just the other day I was working on some recent photographs that I took at night. I was playing around in Lightroom and worked one of them in black and white. I had a very strong reaction to the final product. I absolutely loved it! This is a strange sensation because I am usually drawn to strong bold colors. I am inspired to go out and do more night photography with the goal of creating black and white images. I’m excited!

    I will also be getting a wide angle lens. I have been waiting for years for this lens and I know it will be a major factor in my photography in the near future.

  9. jerry

    For me, I am actually reverting to what got me interested in photography in the first place: our children. We started a 365 days project centered around the kids, not only to capture daily life of them, but also to help hone our candid and portrait photography skills.

  10. Brian Auer Post author

    This is great, guys! It’s always interesting to read about what inspires other photographers. It’s curious how many of us are inspired by equipment — I guess we all love our toys!

  11. Maureen Bond

    Many folks above share a few of mine as well. I hope to get a new lens as many of my shots have improved so much with using a 2.8 of my friends.
    Then I would say that my Flickr friends inspire me daily but I want to challenge myself more. I am not a big fan of HDR and don’t seem to like 9 out of 10 shots I see but I have never done one and will learn. I also will be taking a new challenge of the 100 strangers project and adding a blog to it. So I have fun ahead of me with guidance from many. Great question pose Brian.

  12. matt haines

    Working with models!

    Yeah I know, that sounds a bit sketchy. But it’s not. I’ve really been stretching from my family portrait photography ‘center’ into fashion and commercial shooting. It’s allowed me to push my creativity more, as there’s room for edgier or more creative shooting. And it still allows me to work with people, which I really love to do. Working the commercial end more has forced me to come up with different locations than I would normally choose for a family shot. And I’ve gone into the ‘studio’ more (usually a warehouse of some sort) as a result.

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