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A guest blog from regular Better Photography magazine contributor, Nick Melidonis.

How often have we packed our camera bags and enthusiastically ventured out for the day, in search of great images, only to come back disappointed? The same can be said for wasted overseas photo trips that have produced little more than record shots of where we’ve been. So what is lacking in the process and what can we do to capture those great images?

I was inspired by an article I read recently regarding the creative process. In it, the author states that what is often lacking before we set out is a clear idea of what it is we want to say. The process is no different for painters, writers or sculptors. Regardless of how competent you are in your photographic technique, the lack of a communicable idea can still produce dull images. The photographic world is littered with good technicians and most camera clubs have an abundance of equipment and technology buffs.

Creative people share three precious elements in their work: imagination, originality and ideas that they are able to communicate to their viewers. These people often also use a high degree of skill and mastery in their craft. There is an old maxim that states: “If your only interest in life is photography, then you’ll probably be a terrible photographer.” Ask yourself, ‘What is my passion?’ What subject matter really does it for me? If you don’t have a fire in your belly about a subject, you may be doomed to just aimlessly taking ordinary photographs. If you lack a passion for a subject at this time, find something you can develop a passion for. You may be pleasantly surprised that your enjoyment of the subject matter will grow, as will the quality of the images you produce, and it will give you a goal to aim at.

Ask yourself, ‘Why am I taking these pictures?’ and ‘what do I want my viewers to feel and experience as a result of viewing them?’, ‘What is it that I am trying to communicate?’ In a different life, I spent many years as a corporate trainer and consultant and one process I endorsed about ideas was writing them down on paper. Ideas are fleeting and if not committed to paper immediately, can easily be forgotten.

Often you’ll find one idea can lead to another and soon you may have pre-visualised a whole series of images that may be used for a project, an exhibition or a book.

My frequent trips to the Greek Islands over the past two decades during my photographic tours have now produced a body of work that I want to share with fellow photographers and friends (see below). It came from an idea I had early in the year and then months of hard sweat to put together a selection of images that communicates the feelings, passion and a sense of place I have about the landscapes and people of Greece.

There is an old saying in theatre circles, “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage”.

Good luck with your chosen work, I would love to hear about it.

You can see more of Nick's work at https://nickmelidonis.com/, and you can also find out about his workshops, photo tours and one-on-one mentoring.

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