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How to Be an Artist With a Camera Ins and Outs of Impressionist Photography

turn your camera into a paintbrush!
painting movement of horse raicing with a camera

If you are willing to go beyond just recording the world around you and make images that express yourfeelings and emotions, then anything and everything becomes possible.

All artistic skills can be learned. Natural talent is useful, of course, but it is not the most important thing. The most important question is not, 'Do you have talent?', but, 'Do you want to learn to create artistic photographs?', and if so, 'How much time and effort are you willing to invest in learning your creative skills?' What you really need is a desire to continually improve, a willingness to learn, and an ability to be honest about the shortcomings of your work. Give yourself permission to succeed.

Finding your artistic voice is not about finding a style. When you find clarity in what you want to convey, style will take care of itself. Discover what fascinates you. Look for poetry of shapes, colour and light.

"Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up."-- Pablo Picasso

What we tell ourselves becomes our reality. So listen to you inner dialogue. If you hear yourself saying something negative about your work, rephrase it in a way that empowers you and allows you to move forward. For example, replace the thought, 'I can never seem to get my compositions or exposures right', with a more empowering statement like, 'I'm going to get my compositions right and I will master exposures'. You may not believe it at first, but it will become your reality if you persevere. Talk positively about yourself and your efforts. Speak of challenges, not impossibilities.

Do not tell yourself or others you can't be creative or that you have no talent. Talk like this serves no purpose and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you have camera, you can already create images. The aim is to get better at what you are doing.

Be a lifelong learner. You don't know what you don't know, so read a lot of books and attend workshops. No one person can teach you all that is possible.

Practise, practise, practise. All books, workshops, instruction DVDs are useful, but it is the practice you do and the time you spend experimenting that ultimately determines how good you will become and how fast you improve. Every photograph you take, even the ones that don't work well, is part of your training.

Practise observation skills. Focus on shapes, lines, and colour, rather than subjects. If you spend some time with your subject, you will be able to capture its essence. If you think and focus in terms of a subject, it is likely that the analytical part of your mind will take over and you will photograph what you think you see, rather than what's actually there with all its possibilities.

Be curious. Ask questions. Experiment. Try different things out. Creativity breeds creativity. Start to look and think of your ideas from a place of abundance, instead of scarcity. Remind yourself that there is always more where that came from.

Be patient. Learning to create great images takes time.

Be yourself. Don't worry about people who don't get you and your work. Don't put any constraints on yourself or your work. Enjoy your creative freedom, be the best artist with a camera you can be, and never lose the joy and passion of creating photographs.

And above all, have fun!

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