Making Authentic Photographs

King Penguin chicks, covered in fur, make for a dramatic image against a beautiful, blue sky on a summer's day on South Georgia Island.

Who's The King Of The Castle?

Having trouble standing out from the crowd? Feeling the need to follow, rather than lead? Here's some advice that's just as relevant for me as it may be for you. In fact I'm thinking of my nephew, Richard Gray, as I write to you now. Richie is an example of someone who lives his passion, each and every day.

Approach Your Photography As You Should Your Life

Living without passion is not living, at least not the way life should be lived. Right!

The ability of the photograph to illicit an emotional response is as strong and relevant today as it was one hundred years ago. That's powerful and your photography, and what you have to say through it, is important.

Don't underestimate your ability to influence others and bring joy into the lives of folks all around the world. And that statement is as much about those you photograph as it is about those you share your photographs with.

Hungry King penguin chicks awaiting the return of their parents near Sailsbury Plain on South Georgia Island.

Photography Allows You to Be Part Of The Stories You Tell

Photography provides the author with a powerful means of story telling. It informs, educates and encourages action.

I believe our photographs have the power to heal the world, one photo at a time.
— Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru

But, unlike cameras, photographers are not machines. We are creative souls and we utilize our camera's to record our response to the world around us.

It is impossible to remain unbiased. That's a myth, often associated with photojournalism and documentary photography. Every decision that goes into the making of a photograph is made by an individual, creative being. Our background and life's experiences, up until that moment in time, as much as our technical skills, compositional aptitude and aesthetic judgements are deeply rooted in the photographs we make.

We all make photographs differently so it follows that, when photographing the same subject, location or event the story your photographs tell are dependent upon your own individuality at least as much as what’s in front of the camera’s lens.

They are, after all, your photographs. Make sure you own them, from conception through to completion and then, via online sharing, with the wider world.

A hungry King penguin chick, eagerly waiting for a parent to come and feed it, on South Georgia Island.

Don't Be Too Concerned About Being Original Or Unique

There’s no doubt that, in both the online world and the world of professional photography, perception and branding are essential means by which you gain attention, repeat traffic and sales. The key is to be seen to be different from your competitors. Often that point of difference will allow you to stand out from the crowd and place attention on your brand and the products and services you offer.

There’s value in being different. It can allow you to dominate a niche, be more selective with the customers with whom you work, the products you offer and the prices you charge. But, as you known, while money can lead to financial independence, it's not enough to sustain the soul. Personal satisfaction is the result of creative freedom, dedication to your craft and your ability to finish and share your artwork with a wider audience.

The key is for your work to be driven by passion, rather than you having to work to support your quest for a few hours of creative freedom every week. That’s nuts, and there’s no point pretending otherwise.

Just be yourself. That’s the secret to being original or unique.
— Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru

I’m sure we’ve all had to talk the talk, once or twice, along the journey. But, rather than pretending to be something you’re not, it’s important to explore your creatively as a way of discovering who you actually are. It’s that personality, your very own, original way of seeing the world that will emerge. All you have to do is to listen to and nurture that voice inside you, each and every day. 

Photography can be the means by which you can, finally, meet yourself. And I think that meeting is at the heart of life’s great journey.
— Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru

Strive, In All You Do, To Be Genuine And Authentic

The advice I’d give any aspiring photographer is to be genuine and authentic in all you do. Your photography is a mirror of your true inner self, reflecting who you are and your own, individual world view. No one else sees the world quite the same way you do. That’s your point of difference, that's what makes you unique and the images you make important.

Immerse yourself in your life, both at work and at play. Interact deeply with communities, both near and far, and appreciate that, before understanding, we first need to listen without the intention of speaking. A lesson in life that won’t go unnoticed at the next dinner party you attend.

It seems to me that in order to live a purpose driven and meaning rich life we need to love those around us and the work we do. And the best way to love others is to first love yourself. (Now where have I heard that before).

 Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru