In depth: Experimenting With Photography and Embracing Uncertainty


Let's say you are well into your photographic career and have found your style. But perhaps you are in need of trying out new stuff. After a while, there can be moments when we feel the need to experiment and see how we can expand or improve our work.

Feeling doubtful is normal, and we might be afraid to try out something new. After all, are we risking losing our photographic style when we experiment?

Credits: robertofiuza

For many photographers at the beginning of their practice, defining a style is a challenging task. Often we struggle to focus and choose one aesthetic or even a subject. It can take a long time before we feel confident in our work. But this is a crucial step in a photographer's life.

Once you get there, it is hard to leave a that sense of security that comes with knowing our style and strengths within it. Sure, when you leave a path that you are familiar with and that has worked for you, there is always a question mark. You know what you are leaving but you don't know what is coming next. Perhaps there are different steps during this voyage that can help you keep a healthy balance.

At First, Dive In

At the beginning stage, jump toward whatever is attracting you. Get deep and knowledgeable about your current interest. Don't be afraid to try and give all you have. After all, most people have more than one interest in their life, so probably what is calling you was already there before. Believe in your instincts, it is time to put them into practice!

Credit @rolfmg and @agrimony

If everything is going well, you will accumulate enough work to clearly see your new direction and decide if it is something you want to keep pursuing, or it was a thing of the moment. The same process that has helped us to define our style can be of use when we are disrupting our work once more.

Look for repetition and similar traces that are present in your work; they will lead to defining your new acquired taste. Defining your style is like putting pieces of a puzzle together. You start to see where your taste is drawn to and what elements and themes are repeating themselves in your portfolio. Keep on looking.

Getting Lost

When facing a dry creative moment, going toward something new and exciting can be regenerating. Whether it is a new technique, new subject matter, or switching to a different genre, spicing up your habits can help you find a different voice.

Having a clear idea of what you want from this experimentation phase is useful. If you choose it can be a brief diversion, and you can always return to what you are used to. However, this experimentation can also mean growing to a new level and more than simply having fun. That’s why it can be of help to approach this moment with discipline and analytical skills if you wish to get something really fulfilling out of it.

However, don't be afraid to get lost before you find yourself anew. By doing so, you will probably rediscover parts of yourself throughout your journey.

Credits: ememallea

Now What?

If you feel that experimenting is just that, an experiment, you can go back to your usual work no question asked. But if you are curious to see what you got out of it, it is wise to draw your conclusion. Ask yourself what you learned, and what you want to keep with you? Whether it is a new technique or a new genre, if you are willing to search for something, there is doubtless a lesson to be learned.

Even if you think you will go back to your usual photography practice, don't underestimate the power of fortifying your taste. Developing your confidence will help you not to doubt your work anymore, because you know what it is you love. Remember that doing something you love is always better than doing something because you think that’s what other people will like.

Have you ever experienced a dry creative period? How did you get out of it? Share your story with us in the comments below.

written by eparrino on 2023-05-07 #culture #people #in-depth #art #culture #opinion #style #advice #experimentation #in-depth


  1. roaringtree
    roaringtree ·

    Thanks for a great article, a good reminder to embrace change :-)

  2. rolfmg
    rolfmg ·

    Thanks for the article. Well put, and representing part of my emotions and feelings, lows and ups.

  3. agrimony
    agrimony ·

    I couldn't agree more!

  4. eparrino
    eparrino ·

    @rolfmg @roaringtree Your Welcome :) I'm glad it is well received.

  5. guypinhas
    guypinhas ·

    Nice article! I have dry spells all the time but I manage to overcome just by going out there and shooting. A rolling stone gather no moss is the saying and I find it to be true. In other words, keep shooting, no matter the results, you will eventually crack it wide open.

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