As photographers, we can be inspired by many things before clicking the shutter on a scene or subject to capture a moment in time. It could be the light falling on a scene or the look in someone’s eyes. It might be the time of day or the time of year. Maybe it’s a combination of a lens choice and a situation. Or maybe it’s something that someone is wearing or what’s missing.

Image by Dawn M. Wayand

Whatever it is, it grants us the ability to create beautiful images of our own to share with the world, the world of which are capturing. I wanted to share with you not only what inspires my photography, but also what inspires other photographers in their work as well.

A Love of Photography

Dawn M. Wayand, Dawn M. Wayand Photography

I have shot a variety of genres over the past almost two decades in trying to figure out not only what I enjoyed shooting, but what I’m good at shooting. I first picked up a camera almost eighteen years ago when I started traveling, continuing to do so annually for over a decade. It became apparent at some point that my style revolved around color – bold color. While I always dressed in very plain, neutral colors, I enjoyed the bold colors of the world around me and that was what would always draw my eye and what would inspire what I captured.

A small sample of my travel images.

All images by Dawn M. Wayand

About five years ago, I experimented with and started photographing people. As an introverted individual, working with people was not something I was initially interested in and it wasn’t and still isn’t the focal point of my fashion and portrait work. I seem to be more fixated on and inspired by light and how it hits and changes the mood of a subject. Much of my work exhibits very moody characteristics due to more subdued lighting techniques – even when photographing women, but I also enjoy working with unique natural light, shadows and shaping artificial light to tell a story in my images.

Some of my fashion and portrait work.

All images by Dawn M. Wayand

Let’s see what inspires other photographers…

Other Inspirations – Near & Far

Amanda Gentile, ADG Photography

Image by ADG Photography

“Nothing inspires me more than producing an authentic image that captures the true nature of my subject. Photos are lasting; they are a window to really see a person looks like, their personality, their life. Giving someone a great image of themselves makes me thrilled. Especially when I know how the finished product compares to the quality of a point and shoot or cellphone (no matter how good they’re getting). I like thinking about someone picking up the photograph and smiling because what they’re seeing reflects the person they know and love.”

Monzeeki, Monzeeki Photography

Image by Monzeeki Photography

“My love and long history with dance, embodied me with a hunger for beautiful movement, and yet this collided with a grand yet rigid architectural realm which seeded my love for photography in the first place. I am inspired in finding the relationship between these two, the fluidity that exists in-between.  I certainly love the matchmaking challenge that comes along with process, finding the right location for the dancer is sought on an emotional level, it’s like finding the right dance partner to create the perfect synergy.  Collaborating to make some beautiful art has to be the most rewarding feeling there is for me.  I am rather new to photography but my imagination is pretty wild and endless and this alone encourages me, knowing there is more deep within I can bring to life – so right now not only am I inspired, but I am also driven to better my skillset to bring said visions to life.”

Cliff Henderson, Photographer

Image by Cliff Henderson

“My inspiration lies in not being like everyone else. In fact, what I try to do is non-convention. Perhaps this is my way of standing out, but I see it as me being myself. So when I plan a shoot I plan it as someone who has done it before, then twist it to be what someone hasn’t done. Mostly I go for something odd or hard. Lately the hard thing I’ve been doing is shooting glass. I mean, how do you shoot something that can’t be seen? Glass as a medium has given me the challenge I crave, and has opened up my creativity to the point where the subject takes over and tells me how it wants to be shot. This holds true for all of my still-lifes; I am no longer the creator, and I become the observer for what is about to happen.”

Vladislav Borimsky, Vladislav Borimsky Photography

Image by Vladislav Borimsky Photography

“As primarily a documentary photographer, what inspires my photography most is the world around me. I suppose that’s a pretty vague and general answer. However, consider that every day we walk by hundreds of potential subject matters that could be turned into an amazing photograph. Most of the time we just walk on by about our business without giving much notice to the scenes around us. However, if you pay attention, slow down, take in your environment, look at something in a unique way and maybe direct a bit, you have a chance to ultimately capture or create an amazing story in a single frame. Creating a photograph that evokes a feeling, emotion, or a response from a viewer is what drives and inspires me. The world is full of stories to tell. Inspiration is all around us.”

Michal Hess, Photographer

Image by Michal Hess

“I was first exposed to photography when I was 15 years old and took a photography class. It wasn’t long until I realized that I am attracted mostly to documentary and street photography. I was drawn to people, animals and interactions on the street. As years have passed I took a break from photography and pursued a career in veterinary medicine. 10 years ago I moved to NYC from Israel, and was very overwhelmed by the busy metropolitan. I soon rediscovered my love to street photography, and connected to the city through my camera. It started with documenting special moments and interesting people on the street, and developed more into a decisive moment type of photography. Inspired by Henri Cartier Bresson and Elliott Erwitt, I find myself looking for special juxtaposition moments. I like simple compositions, that at first glance look ordinary, but with a deeper look there is one or two details that make a statement.”

Shikha, Photographer

Image by Shikha

“For me it’s the mystery I see through my lens, it’s very magical, there’s nothing perfect or imperfect, it just is, frozen in time to contemplate later as “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”. I took this picture at the Cordoba festival in Spain, I was about to capture her looking straight into my camera when she suddenly looked away, and now it’s a complete mystery whether she was secretly posing or did something else caught her stunning eyes?”

Steve Dico, Photographer

Image by Steve Dico

“What inspires me in Photography: Telling a story by freezing time.

Before writing was developed, the only way to keep a story alive was to tell it to younger people. If the tellers were all gone, the story all was gone. End of story (pun intended).

As early cave people found out, making marks on the cave wall would allow someone OTHER than them, without even hearing or seeing the story teller, actually know what the teller was thinking. Later came writing…a series of shapes one could assign and remember the meanings of, and know the thoughts of someone else without ever meeting them. A watershed moment in recording of history! Images do the same thing, on cave walls for millennia, or on paper . . .

I am inspired by the act of recording people or things in time. But, unlike text that one must plow through, an image tells the story all at once, as one’s eye has swept ‘round the image as the photographer directs it. Before I squeeze the trigger, I imagine that scene in a book or on the wall. If the shot tells no story, I turn round and seek another cave wall to adorn with frozen time.”

RuvenG, RuvenG Photography

Image by RuvenG Photography

“I am inspired by the energy and motion of New York City, my adopted home for the past two-and-a-half years. This is Lillian, she is passionate about her point of view and is not afraid to express it. Most of my shots of people are more candid but I also like some street portraiture and to find interesting perspectives on the architecture of New York.”

Sheldon, Big Bang Photography

Image by Sheldon

“The thing that inspires me the most, is trying to make my camera equipment do things I never thought possible.  Sort of like a violinist who plays his instrument like a guitar!  For many years I was taking photos at 1/125th of a second.  Nothing wrong with that, but about five years ago I saw the work of an artist, who takes long exposure photos during the day.  I had no idea you could do that!  I took a workshop on daytime long exposure photography and I was hooked.

Since then, I have learned how to take long exposure images of fireworks that look like flowers and sea creatures, by changing the focus while taking the photo.  Long exposure has inspired a whole new way for me to think about photography.  

I recently added a dedicated infrared body and a fisheye lens to my kit.  These two pieces of equipment have made it even more fun to get out and create unique images.

One more thing that really inspires me is New York City.  I could not have asked for a better place to work.  There are so many scenes to capture here.  Sometimes at 1/125 of a second and sometimes at 300 seconds, or somewhere in between!  One of my absolute favorites is a fisheye shot of the Grace Building on 42nd St.”

Holly Tomlin, Holly Tomlin Photography

Image by Holly Tomlin Photography

“Capturing the connection with people is my greatest inspiration. People, particularly strangers, can sense when you’re genuinely interested in them as individuals and not just their image. Strangers will bear their souls through their eyes and bodies after spending even just a few seconds or a few minutes with them. I enjoy making them feel comfortable enough to express themselves either verbally or through silent acknowledgements between my lens and their eyes. Whether it’s during a portrait session, concert, dance, or sporting event, photographing people in their element or making them feel comfortable enough to trust my vision, drives me to make and share art every chance I’m afforded the opportunity.”

Lynn Grossman, Photographer

Image by Lynn Grossman

“I have always tried to see the beauty in everyone. In these days of judgement and both women and men struggling with body image and self esteem, it is a gift I love to give others of revealing their beauty and their truth. Often the lens magically captures things my eye doesn’t. When the human eye and camera function synergistically amazing realities emerge. I love capturing images of people that allow them to see themselves the way others do and to realize their beauty.

In my street photography, I get to capture moments of humanity and preserve them in time. Fleeting moments and faces that will be lost for eternity. Also, I become aware, in spite of all our quirks , craziness , weird habits, etc. when it comes down to it we are all more alike than we are different. The more I capture the uniqueness in people and situations, the more I also become aware of our similarities. Especially in these times, it is so important for us all to remember how much we are alike and not to focus on our differences, which fosters prejudice and distrust. Our current plight inspires me to be a better person and a better portrayal of reality.

Photography allows me and encourages me to see the world from different angles and perspectives to show others how to as well.”

Lilly Shames, Lilly Shames Photography

Image by Lilly Shames Photography

“I love to travel and explore locations where the language is foreign, the food is strange and people will smile at you just because they know you’re a lost tourist.  When I travel I get explore art, culture and history and when I’m in Europe I make it a point to visit Holocaust Memorials.  These are never fun visits, they are mostly overwhelmingly emotional.  After every trip, I’m always asked “why do I do that to myself?”  And my answer is always “because someone has to.  Because the world needs to know, the people who died in the Holocaust are not forgotten.”

What Inspires Your Photography?

With the advancements of technology, just about anyone with at least a smartphone has the ability to create an image. What inspires your photography?