Friday, November 4, 2011

Is any idea truly "original"? My thoughts on the matter!

Lately I've received several emails or have read comments from others about "copying" work. I have seen others be "inspired" by others and then torn apart when they post the session! As a result, feelings have been hurt, friendships have been broken and mean and hurtful comments have been placed on fan pages. So, when something bothers me, I here goes, this is my thoughts on the matter!

First of all, is any "idea" or "pose" truly original? I really don't think so! Everything comes from somewhere...movies, books, etc! And hello? Pinterest??? How many newborn photographers use blankets, buckets, baskets, crates? How many photographers put families on quilts? How many have done the "chin" pose? How many bride and grooms with the veil over the head? How many jumping shots? The LIST goes on and on! And then we have concept riding hood was used lately by 2 well-known photographers and I can bet you a million dollars that these were planned way in advance and were totally not copied from each other! Creative people think alike! I cannot tell you how many times I have had an "idea" in my head and then I see it before I do the shoot...did they copy me? NOPE, we might be photographers but we do not read minds! I posted several months ago my ABC maternity shoot, I had been working on this for months and since then I have seen it done again and you know what...I'm flattered!!! I got the idea from ABC books...see, not totally original! :)

I've said this time and time again...Photography is ART! While we might get the idea from others, NO ONE can copy YOUR art!! We all see things differently! We cannot get wrapped up in ourselves and get so worked up when we see our work recreated by someone's going to happen!! And you know what, I think it's OK!!! As long as you put your own spin on it and don't copy everything EXACTLY, it's OK! I just attended a workshop last week and we talked in depth about this very one can copy YOU, only YOU can know what is in your head and as long as you can do it with a clear conscience knowing that it's your "new" idea taken from inspiration...GO FOR IT!!!

I have personally been holding back on several ideas that I've had in mind for several months because I saw them recently used...I love the internet but sometimes it can really get you down!! But you know what, I'm going to really stop getting so wrapped up on what people think...seriously...people are going to matter what...there will ALWAYS be haters!

So, go ahead and be inspired...don't copy exactly but there is nothing wrong with taking a concept and going with it! You can use that pose, just do a different angle. The bottom line is just be true to yourself and don't worry about others...we will always have critics, it means you are doing something right...




  1. Right on, sister!! Everything is inspired by "something". As long as someone is not taking MY aactual picture and putting their logo on it ( which has happened...uggg...) then I take "copying" in a flattering way.

  2. Bam! :)
    Photographers see hundreds of photos a day on the internet even when we are aren't looking. It may not be a "new" concept that we do on a shoot, but it is probably new for that client. If we see something that a client would just love, shouldn't we put our own spin on it and deliver the need??
    Love you Julie

  3. Julie,
    This is so helpful on so many levels. Thank you for this post and for being one of the inpirators to us newbies. as a newbie I have always been afraid of that, being called a copy cat. and you know what there just comes a time in life when there will always be "that one person" that has an issue greater than satisfaction of knowing some one likes your work enough to use your style with their own flair or spin to it. in reality, isnt photography about inspiration in general? after all with out photographers who would inspire the public of new clothes or trends. Thank you so much for this post.

  4. Thank you so much for this post! I've been thinking the exact same thing. I've seen on another photographer's page where they had done a creative themed shoot and someone posted "and watch many others will be copying this shoot very soon." I was thinking I liked the creative idea but I know my pictures would not look the same because I have a different photography style. Every photographer has their own style or is discovering their own style.
    Which means these creative ideas should be used by more than one photographer so you can see all the creativity :)

  5. I agree, I am not a photographer but as a frequent client of photographers sometimes I want a picture just like my friend had or I saw something cute and I want my photographer to make that picture happen for me. Is it going to be exactly the same? No way because the people are different, the location, lighting etc. But photography is an art, and it can also be about what your client wants. How many sears family photographs look exactly the same no matter what photographer, I mean that isn't exactly creative but sometimes its what people want.

  6. OH MY GOODNESS...I sooooooooo needed to read this today! Thank you! :)

  7. Amen sister girl!

  8. My husband keeps telling me that imagery is the best form of flattery. And when I see someone borrow my idea. Go ahead and let my head swell a little and move on to a new idea.

  9. My mom found the most amazing photographer who still has the most original and creative idea's locations I have ever seen. I interned for her this past summer and went to all her sessions including weddings. She was my third internship and I just want to say I have so much respect for her and the way her mind worked. I have worked with nine photographers and there is a big difference between her originality and creativity and the others who went to the same old locations and got the same old pictures. I was so excited to go to work with her each and every day because it was fun, exciting, and adventure and I knew I was a part of something new. The rest kinda fell to the wayside for me.

    The first photographer had so many weddings booked that she had 12 photographers to shoot the cookie cutter weddings and while the equipment was top of the line and the brides all look perfect at their $200,000 weddings there was never anything original! As a matter of fact her hired photographers where at all these high end venues so many times that each bride and groom that got married posed in the same ways in the same spots (not far off from Walmart if you ask me) My point is there was noting original to copy from the first well established overpaid photographer. It has always been done and will always be done but on my third internship she was strange and original I have never seen images such as these! I have searched pinstress, Google Images, facebook, Twitter and her originality of the combination of common things could not be accidental recreated knowingly! I stand firm that there are still many things original left to be done because I see her do them weekly.
    You are correct when you say that there are only so many ways a person can be posed and angles a photo can be shot but I think it is sad when I see a truly original idea copied as close to every last detail as possible. It is one thing to be inspired and to put your own spin on things but quite another to search for the exact location, in the same spot, wearing similar cloths, sitting on the same colored vintage suitcase eating an apple! Come on and it does happen.

    I know first hand that some photographers are not creative. The one truly creative photographer I worked with (out of the nine) could do an amazing session with no notice, no research, at any location. She never had to ask anyone what location they had used or where they had bought their furry hat. You could see the wheels turning as her masterpieces unfolded. Actually if she had seen it done or had shot it herself she avoiding doing it again all together.

    As a photographer I felt the same way as you till I met someone truly inspired by life instead of others pictures. Now on my sessions I often think (what would she do)? But I have enough respect for her to NOT ACTUALLY DO what she did. I will admit I don't have her flare, her idea's. She did red riding hood pictures three years ago that I would be willing to bet are not even close to the same as any other photographers. I take great pictures and I know my equipment but It infuriates me when I see all these self proclaimed photographers with a DSL shooting 10 sessions a month surfing the Internet for better photographers in the same area who are successful and blatantly copy them.

    BTW I am anonymous because it is a small world and I am not looking to bash any photographer, hurt any-ones feelings, or advertise. I just noticed that someone I know found you through some silly silent tagging thing to get fans on Facebook and I looked at your blog. My view might be different because I know I am not the best. Each day I strive to be like someone else and I feel some photography is art while others are just pictures. My daughter can draw stick people with the best of the three year o but it would take a more original drawing for me to consider it art creativity or skill. Just something to think about.

  10. Wow .... you wrote a book "anonymous".... I agree with Julie... don't worry about others, do your own thing and if some one elnce dose it too oh well don't cry that someone copied you. They arnt you and the client is totaly unique in there own way. Plus there is a BIG chance they where not copying you in the first place.

  11. I totally agree that nothing is really original in photography these days. I know of some photographers who get in a huff if someone copies their pose or idea, but really I'm sure they got some inspiration from that very idea elsewhere. And even if someone copies your photo, it doesn't mean that it will look the same. I mean, everyone has their own level of expertise, way of lighting, way of doing post production, etc. I don't think anyone is truly original 100% of the time. Thanks for the great post and saying what needed to be said.