1. Inspiration
  2. Techniques

From Inspiration to Perspiration to Building a Stronger Brand

Intro by Skip Cohen

I love this post out of the Sprouting Photographer archives because it not only hits on a reminder of technique but reinforces the importance of stepping outside your comfort zone. You’ve got to practice, experiment and keep pushing the edge of the creative envelope.

Years ago, my good buddy Tony Corbell used to remind photographers to always leave a couple of exposures at the end of each roll of film. His point was to wrap up every event/project and do something out of the ordinary – push the boundaries of everything you usually do.

Competition is fierce today, and you’ve got to make your work stand out. You’ve got to meet the needs of your target audience, but at the same time create some excitement and leave them looking at your work and saying “Wow!”

And there it is – the description of Robert Nowell’s image and the quality of work you should be showing in your galleries. Always show “Wow” images – photographs so good that you’d only have to show one to get hired!

By Robert Nowell

OFTEN, AS photographers, we can get into a rut with our photography and our business. We end up using the same old poses and our online work can start to look repetitive.

People get excited by new and different and even if we have a signature style, sometimes just by showing something out of the ordinary, we can attract a lot of attention. That is certainly true of the photograph I am sharing with you today.

This image and the entire session it came from is the result of being inspired and then acting on that inspiration. About two years ago I saw a video by Benjamin Von Wong where he showed how he was approached by SmugMug to photograph their employees as athletes to display on the walls of the SmugMug employee gym.

On watching that video I was struck by how fun it looked to create and I felt it was something I’d like to try myself. With the help of my former photography student Megan Muir, we set about the work of building a rain shower tube which we could connect to the garden hose in my backyard.

The photograph was lit by three strobes which had to overpower the daylight. We strung up a black cloth background and after many lighting tests, we let our models do their thing in front of my lens.

The entire shoot was carefully planned, and we shot tethered to my Mac so we could adjust pose and lighting as necessary.

When I posted these images after the session I was inundated with inquiries from fitness models and local athletes wanting something similar for their own online presence.
Fitness photography wasn’t even something I had been pursuing but as a result of pushing myself to try something new I was able to attract some new clients and referrals.

Standing out in today’s saturated photography market is difficult but by just stretching our creative muscles and trying something new we can often capture the attention of prospects and become front of mind for them. If my images are memorable enough and make a connection, it’s very likely that I can build on that audience to help them begin to connect with my brand.