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8 Steps to Master Impressionist Photography

18 Jun 2022

8 Steps to Master Impressionist Photography

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Impressionist photography is a powerful and wonderful language capable of expressing things not easily conveyed in any other way. As you know, photographic images can be descriptive; they can document people, objects or landscapes. But photographs can also be expressive. They can communicate intangible or invisible things: your memories, ideas, and emotions. And the good news is that everyone can photograph like this, regardless of age, culture, education or temperament.
The impressionist photography-making process can be liberating, elevating, and therapeutic. When you become immersed in a photoshoot, you can lose yourself. You perceive and experience the world in ways that transcend the ordinary.
Impressionist photography uses light, lines, patterns, colour and textures to speak poetically of ordinary things surrounding you.
This can be daunting at first, so let’s look at a short list of ideas you could adopt to make impressionist photography easier.

1. Be kind to yourself

More than everything else, make this your motto and your mantra. Overly zealous and harsh self-criticism is the single most destructive force you’ll encounter on the road to creativity, making you reluctant to try again. After all, what’s the point of trying if you feel you’re no good.
Remember, if you say unkind things to yourself about your images, the feelings they create gain strength. So catch that harshly critical voice as it comes up, recognise it for what it is, let it go, and replace it with self-acceptance and encouragement.

2. Don’t worry about being perfect.

No one is perfect, nor is there any such thing as an ideal image. Anyone who claims there is has a narrow, specific idea of what a photograph is, what it should do, and how it should be done.
Photography is a process. Expect that process to lead you not to a perfect result but to a more enjoyable place.
Look at your favourite images. Are these photographs perfect? How can you tell? What criterion can you use?
But you can easily determine whether these images move you, whether they are intriguing, compelling, or alive.

3. Set reasonable expectations

One sure way to feel bad about yourself is to set the bar so high that you can’t jump over it. Set your goals at a reasonable and achievable level and raise the bar slowly to the next notch.

4. Enjoy the process of getting there

Stop working about succeeding and embrace whatever you are doing now. Things flow much easier when we stop trying too hard.

5. Don’t overthink things

While photographing, trust yourself and tap into your unconscious; use your intuition. Then, when you pause, you can think, observe and analyse. But as quickly as possible, take off the thinking cap and return to using your intuition.

6. Challenge assumptions

One common denominator among great artists is their ability and willingness to challenge assumptions. Constantly ask yourself, “What would happen if I try this or that?
There is no way of creating impressionist images. Learn all you can from other photographers and teachers. Then find the approaches that work best for you.

7. Ignore uninformed feedback

Not everyone is equally qualified to serve as a judge of your work. Be selective and discriminate when choosing whom to listen to. Carefully select a few people who share your artistic viewpoint. In the end, your own voice should have the most power.

8. Find community

Always be on the lookout for fellow photographers who share your artistic viewpoint. You might find these kindred spirits online, in classes, and at photography exhibition openings. Develop and nurture this community. It will be a source of encouragement and validation, and you won’t be alone on your artistic journey.
If you have not joined yet, check out our Facebook group.
Impressionist photography allows you to discover your own voice.
When you start exploring new ideas and techniques, it is normal to feel overwhelmed or unsure about where to begin. It is important to experiment. Try taking images as often as possible.
Like with any other task, it takes time to develop a habit.
Once you begin, you will find yourself craving the time with your camera, creating new photographs and developing new ideas.