What Inspires You to Photograph?

Twilight water lilly. Canon 50mm macro, 1/30th sec @f2.5, ISO 400. (Copyright 2010 / Andrew Boyd)

Twilight water lilly. Canon 50mm macro, 1/30th sec @f2.5, ISO 400. (Copyright 2010 / Andrew Boyd)

It rained most of today, heavy thunder showers that are typical here this time of year. But just before dark, light started to break through the clouds to the west, making everything interesting and glistening. I got inspired to take a little walkabout, camera in hand.

Under an umbrella with just my 50mm macro, I strolled out to see what I could see…and I got to thinking: what inspires us to photograph? Why do you pick up your camera when you do? What need are you trying to satisfy? This is the most basic of questions for photographers: why do we do it?

Birdbath. Canon 50mm macro, 1/20th sec @f2.5, ISO 400. (Copyright 2010 / Andrew Boyd)

Birdbath. Canon 50mm macro, 1/20th sec @f2.5, ISO 400. (Copyright 2010 / Andrew Boyd)

Walking in the twilight, I shot images as I found them: lillies in the pond, the shimmer of water in a bird bath, light coming through the bottles on my wife’s bottle tree. Things that  spoke to me on some level, things I responded to. Not the same things you would see of course: we each have our own unique vision.

Bottle tree bottle. Canon 50mm macro, 1/20th sec @f2.5, ISO 400. (Copyright 2010 / Andrew Boyd)

Bottle tree bottle. Canon 50mm macro, 1/20th sec @f2.5, ISO 400. (Copyright 2010 / Andrew Boyd)

I remember how I first started. I was backpacking the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina, marveling at the beauty of the Flaming Azalea that grow wild at the higher elevations, a truly unique and beautiful plant. I shot photos of them with my point and shoot, only to be disappointed when I later got the film developed. None of the magic that I had experienced had translated onto the film. This led to the realization that I needed a better camera…and the journey began.

What started your photographic journey? Are you in touch with that feeling, that magic, today? How has your photography changed as you’ve matured as a shooter? Do you still get that old sense of excitement?

Bottles #2. Canon 50mm macro, 1/13th sec @f2.5, ISO 400. (Copyright 2010 / Andrew Boyd)

Bottles #2. Canon 50mm macro, 1/13th sec @f2.5, ISO 400. (Copyright 2010 / Andrew Boyd)


Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog

Posted in: Inspire

About the Author:

Photographer, videographer and photo editor. Host and creator of The Discerning Photographer web site. Currently a Canon shooter.

7 Comments on "What Inspires You to Photograph?"

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  1. corina says:

    What began as a way to capture my daughter growing up, photography is now a hobby of mine. Back then, I had a film SLR that, for the most part, stayed on Auto. Now, having a DSLR, the setting is almost always on Manual or some other creative setting. Over the last year or so, I think attention to detail and composition has improved in my photos. Beyond Picasa, there’s not a lot of post processing going on, so taking photos in different lighting, backgrounds, etc is a challenge that I welcome.

  2. You might want to pick up a cheap ebay copy of Photoshop Elements. It’ll give you a lot more ‘digital darkroom’ power than Picasa…

  3. Shotslot says:

    Actually, a similar experience to yours – I’d shot for years with a 35mm Pentax, got out of film into digital and realised that the P&S digital camera I had just couldn’t do what I wanted it to…actually corina as someone who likes shooting more than editing, I’d consider Andrew’s suggestion, or if you can stretch to it I’d get Lightroom, takes some learning but I find it quicker than any other programe I’ve tried.

  4. corina says:

    Thanks for the suggestions, for now I’m looking into GIMP, but will definitely take a look at ebay or amazon.

  5. corina says:

    Thanks for the suggestions – for now, I’m looking at Gimp, but will definitely take a look at ebay or amazon.

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