There's no doubt that the internet is a wonderful source of inspiration. A wealth of knowledge is freely available, and you could spend countless hours reading about photography, looking at inspiring images, and connecting with other photographers. But is that enough?
Today's Quick Tip will be making the case for seeking inspiration offline, and suggesting a few great places to start.
Knowing When to Disconnect
Different people are attached to the internet in different ways. Some of you may run a thoroughly "connected" photography business, finding new clients via social media, and checking your email several times a day. With his type of "always on" relationship to the internet, it's easy to start relying on it solely for inspiration.
As the editor of a photography blog, I'm obviously of the opinion that there is a great deal to be learned online. There comes a point, though, where you need to disconnect, try techniques for yourself, and experiment with additional sources of inspiration.
Photography is Practical
The best way to learn about photography is to get out there and take pictures. Subscribing to a photography blog alone won't make you better at the craft. Experiment with different types of photography, new lenses, varying weather conditions, and portraits/landscapes.
It's also a good idea to regularly push yourself out of your comfort level. Why not ask a friend if they'd like you to shoot a set of portraits for them? You may feel that you aren't "ready" for this type of commitment, but you'd be surprised with how well you could actually do.
You never know when you'll be inspired to take a photo, so aim to always have a camera with you - even if it's a compact point-and-shoot.
Image by Steve Scap
As with any creative profession, a huge number of books have been published on the topic of photography. They're also often very easy to read (expect to see lots of pictures!). The problem is that if you're picking up brand new books on Amazon, this source of inspiration could quickly become fairly expensive.
The alternative is to spend some time scouring local second-hand bookstores and markets. Not only will this save a few dollars, it will also lead to you finding books that you wouldn't otherwise have even considered purchasing. Here are a few useful websites for finding second hand books and inspiration:
Image by simonlesleyphoto
Another regular form of offline inspiration are photography magazines. The glossy, visual medium is brilliant for looking at inspiring photographs, and you're often provided with a very high standard of articles and tips. If you subscribe for a year, there are some great discounts to be had - often a year's subscription comes in at roughly the same price as an individual book!
The most important thing is to always be on the lookout for inspiration. You never know when a perfect photographic situation will pop up!
Article photo by Daniela Vladimirova.