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How will I know if my impressionist photographs are successful?

5 Mar 2022

How will I know if my impressionist photographs are successful?

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Anyone can learn to create impressionist photographs and do it well. All needed is the correct information presented in the right way. Your images are merely a reflection of how advanced are your skills of observation and your technical abilities.

Becoming good at something takes a lot more than just talent. It takes hard work. All successful artists have one thing in common. They spent their time practising and experimenting.

“I might not know how to do it……Yet”

To stretch and grow, you must expand your horizons. Try techniques and approaches that you have never used before. Practice. If you make mistakes, learn from them. Try new solutions. Be flexible. Remember, one idea often leads to another and another.

As Thomas Edison himself said:

“If I find ten thousand ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I’m not discouraged because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”

Give yourself permission to be creative in ways that please you instead of trying to please others.

The process of creatively expressing or interpreting an idea often seems overwhelming. It takes commitment to learning techniques and working on exercises. But the more you practice and use your skills, the more confidence you gain.

When you find yourself stuck, stop for a moment and analyse the situation.

Perhaps an external condition causing you distractions and a loss of concentration? Are you tired or experiencing a lot of stress? Have you criticised yourself for not doing as well as you would like?

Try some relaxation exercise of words of self-affirmation, which often help.

From there, try to approach your photoshoot from a different direction. Don’t rush. Think it through. Study your subject before you start. Take your time and enjoy the process.

Just observe the colours, highlights, shadows and shapes. Observation not only will improve your photography, but you will begin to see the world around you in a richer, more detailed manner. You are now on the way to developing your own way of seeing and expressing yourself. Do things that you have not done before or differently than previously.

When choosing your subject, select something that interests you or relates to something you love. When you work on a subject you like, the creative process is more enjoyable. Think about your subject and envision and try it in various techniques, lighting conditions, points of view.

There is no right or wrong here. Choose a composition that expresses your interpretation or convey the idea or mood. Experience the freedom of finding an idea, exploring it and expressing it.

So how the creative process may look like in practice?

For me, impressionist photography is an expressive style that can produce quiet and reflective images or bold and dramatic. My aim is to photograph something beautiful, something that brings joy. On my photoshoots, I never go looking for a specific subject. I rely on exploring, examining and experiencing, always being receptive to any ideas that present themselves.

The result I wish to achieve will depend upon the subject and the technique I choose. I experiment a lot. I seek and enjoy happy accidents and unexpected discoveries. I determine the idea or mood by using the expressive power of light, colour and shapes.

I keep in mind that I’m photographing the effect of light on the subject. Every image I take is based on an understanding of the light that forms the image. As an artist, I have the power to make ordinary subjects extraordinary. I can manipulate the light for subtle or dramatic effects.

With composition, I aim to simplify the image.

I review and study my images to determine what works and what does not.

For me, there is no more incredible thrill than discovering a fascinating and inspirational subject and being able to capture my thoughts and feelings about it in the form of an impressionist image. Photography is a beautiful form of self-expression.

“All the best ideas come out of the process: they come of the work itself”
Chuck Close


Things to remember

  • Enjoy your creative process
  • There is no right and wrong in art
  • Every decision you make has technical and aesthetic results, and those results are your choice
  • Confidence comes with practice, experience, and familiarity with your equipment, photographic techniques, and visual language.
  • Do not be disappointed if you are not happy with your images. Think about why it does not work and how can it be improved. It is all experience.
  • Photograph from your heart, not from your mind
  • Try not to set your aim too high; allow time for your progress.