Doing What I Love / by Jared Shoemaker

Often, when people first see my pictures they ask something along the lines of;

 "How do you come up with these ideas?"

I always just kind of laughed and shrugged it off because it was never a big deal to me. Then I started to think, how do I keep coming up with fresh ideas for pictures? Its not like I have a boss breathing down my neck and giving me deadlines to create certain content. I thought long and hard about this and I think I found an answer.

The first thing I do is figure out what, or who, I am shooting. If its a person, I always try to know a little bit about them. What their good side is, are they playful or serious, and other personality traits you can project into a picture like a movie projector onto a screen. You also want to consider their physical appearance when picking a location. For example, if the model is brunette, I tend to avoid using trees as backgrounds for pictures so they don't "blend" into the tree.

Secondly, have an idea in your head of what mood you're trying give the view. Also, have an idea of what you want the picture to look like post editing. If you want the subject to feel strong or powerful you will shoot them differently than if you're shooting some roses in a garden.

Lastly, never stop researching. If you see a picture on Instagram that you really like, archive it, google how to achieve that effect. If you know the artist, ask. Most photographers I know will gladly share tips and tricks with other curators.