Stephen F. Dennstedt
Photographer, Writer, Traveller
I rarely need to be motivated or inspired to grab my camera. But then I live the idyllic life for a serious photographer. Travelling 365 days a year to some of the most interesting and beautiful places on Earth is certainly motivation and inspiration enough. Not everyone is as fortunate as me (I get that) but I’ve paid my dues in spades to get where I am today. However, there are a few things that I do on a regular basis to keep myself pumped up and thought I would take a moment to share them with you.
YouTube is my friend and everywhere I go I take my laptop with me. Short features like this one showing National Geographic’s attempt to photograph elusive arctic wolves is inspiring (and motivating). It makes you want to get out of the house and photograph something—anything. YouTube has a plethora of photography videos: from short films like this one, to in-depth interviews with world-famous photographers, to equipment reviews and tutorials on any photography question or subject you might be interested in.
Google is also my go-to place. I can quickly search out any photography subject I’m interested in. I am constantly educating myself through Google: from the latest gear and techniques, to biographical treatises on famous photographers, to searching out fellow bloggers and world travellers. You no longer have to attend expensive and exclusive photography schools to learn the craft and art of photography. Unlike the days of film, today’s digital technology and the internet allows you to become self-taught.
GuruShots is an online photographic community. I’ve withdrawn from almost every photographic community group I’ve ever joined and its only been in the last few months that I’ve become active again. The reason I’ve withdrawn in the past is that some of the people on the internet are real jerks. The term on social media is: Trolls. Trolls are people whose main mission in life is to cause trouble—in my day and vernacular we called these people assholes. They criticize and discourage new photographers just because they can. Guru Shots is a fun and safe environment to share your work.
Facebook. One of the very best groups on Facebook for photography is the Professional Photographers Group. Here you will find world-class photography that will blow your mind. You are encouraged to submit your best work but be ready for rejection—this group only publishes the best of the best. However, it’s a great venue to see work that will motivate and inspire you. Whether you choose to compete or not is not really the point, the point is to learn and hone your craft to become a better photographer.
As I mentioned in my opening paragraph: I rarely need to be motivated or inspired to grab my camera. A day out in nature photographing wildlife or vast scenic panoramas is certainly motivation enough. Even walking the urban streets of the world’s largest cities can be inspiring. Look around you and photograph what you see. Look for new perspectives, try new lenses or processing techniques. Engage with your fellow photographers, educate yourself, mentor someone just getting started. Photography can be a great hobby or even a great career. Keep snapping those shutters.