Starting a Photo Series: Finding a Worthy Subject

Starting a Photo Series: Finding a Worthy Subject

I was never really into photo series but over the summer that kind of changed with my island series. Today, I find myself shooting similar things over and over again. In the end, I think that photo series can be a really cool way to showcase your work and interests over time.

Being a real estate photographer in New Jersey, I am constantly stepping foot into new homes. A lot of the houses I shoot are pretty upscale and usually very nice. When I get into these homes, I sometimes get overwhelmed and begin thinking about all the different possibilities there are for shooting photos in a creative way. Most of the time I am doing video work which makes it rare that I will shoot any stills on my camera. This is where my iPhone really comes into play. It is super easy for me to pull my phone out of my pocket and fire up the camera to photograph the things that interest me. Over the past month, I have really been making sure I use my phone to take photos wherever I go just because I find it kind of fun.

You don't have to have any initial idea of what you want to shoot to start a photo series. In my case here, I just recently realized that I have a bunch of photos that are all similar to each other that were shot over the duration of probably about a year or so. The photos in the series should definitely relate to one another otherwise you would probably be left with more of a collection.

With my island series, I actually went out to shoot and came home to realize that I could shoot a bunch of islands this exact same way and make something from it. After realizing that I had the idea to create a series, I set out to gather photos of islands for it. With my iPhone stuff, it took a little more time for me to realize that I can make multiple series. Now that I am aware of it, I am going to continue a few different series all shot on my iPhone.

My biggest tip for anyone out there looking to create a photo series or create one from photos they already have is to find a worthy subject. Find something that interests you, find something that expresses you and your work. It is important to care about what you are shooting and be consistent with it because what is a photo series without any meaning? For me, after shooting homes for the past three years, I have slowly been getting more and more into design and architecture. 

I have always been interested in architecture, but just recently I've caught myself photographing a lot of staircases. Whenever I find a unique staircase that catches my attention, I spend a decent amount of time trying to photograph it the way I envision. I probably look crazy holding my phone up or out while I try to get all my angles as good as I can straight out of the camera. However, that is one of the most important parts to me and I feel like this really helps out with the overall composition. The grid has become an absolute essential for me to use and because I have been shooting so much on my phone, I feel like my photography and style overall has gotten a lot cleaner.

Looking back on this and all the photos I have taken, I am really happy to see where my work is heading. You don't need a fancy camera to be creative, you need a good idea or concept that has value to you. I look to keep up with my straight down or straight up iPhone photos along with many other photos and things that interest me. This series is far from final, and actually still just an idea. When I have the chance to shoot more, I will add to this and create my first iPhone photo series with all of these interesting staircases. I hope this encourages some of you to get out there and start a little personal project; it's as easy as just coming up with an idea and beginning to shoot.

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1 Comment

jean pierre (pete) guaron's picture

Ty, what I found when I embarked on a path of taking a photo series was - first - that it triggered a creative impulse and I found myself pursuing multiple photo series - and second - that it does wonders for your photography.

I think this great series of yours, of staircases, exemplifies that last statement. Achieving the success you have, with these photos, shows great talent. Of course I've never seen what your photography was like before this - maybe I should shut up, because you were always good. :)