Inspiration Rx | Defining your visual vocabulary

elizabeth messina wallflower via besotted blog

Today’s Inspiration Rx is a little different, as I think inspiration should not be stagnate it should evolve and grow, I wanted to try to delve a little deeper, are you with me?  We usually pair an artist with 3 words that describe their work, Elizabeth Messina who I admire immensely has a very distinct body of work, some of the words I would use to describe it would be luminous, sensual, romantic. This post originally came up when she mentioned her sister’s love of words we were going to try to pair some of her sister’s fave words with Elizabeth’s images, but we were having a difficult time matching images with them because Elizabeth’s visual vocabulary is so very distinct and really does not stray.

photos by elizabeth messina vis besotted blog

This got me thinking about my own work and applying this word concept to help hone one’s style. The idea is simple, not unlike our Inspiration Rx-take 3 words that describe your work now and 3 words of how you would love your work to be described. The idea here is that if you are like me all over the place with your imagery (I think I have a very distinct graphic aesthetic and writing style, but photos are chaos!) The latter, writing the 3 words of how you would like your work described will be your road map to getting to that place you want to go with your photography (art, lettering, writing, etc.) Go through your work and choose your very favorite image, what is it you like about it and how can you translate that to more images in that vein? Also, pull out your worse photo and really analyze what it is that didn’t work for you. These very simple things may be the catalyst to finding your own visual vocabulary, being able to hone in on what you like and what you don’t. I know inspiration can be difficult, I know it’s easy to think if you had this model/location, or that camera or lens you could achieve your vision, but maybe just maybe after you write your words down you can find that you can translate that into the everyday and build a body of work that you are proud of and want to share with the world, which in turn may get the recognition you seek whether it be for personal growth or financial.I should add a note here and say if you pick 3 words and then feel you can’t seem to translate them, don’t fret, try 3 other words, I think when you hit upon the right words that resonate, it will all fall into place.

We would love to know if this helped in any way or if you have anything that has worked for you in the past (or is working for you now) that you would like to share. It’s always interesting to get a peek into the creative process and I think this exercise is a great way to start to develop your own style and unique voice.

P.S. If you are interested in exploring more of Elizabeth’s sister’s musings, here are some of my fave words from her blog Fig & Birch andalchemy, patience, potential. Maybe one of these words and definitions will resonate with you when you are choosing your own words!

photos by elizabeth messina

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

2 thoughts on “Inspiration Rx | Defining your visual vocabulary

  1. What a wonderful post, Tristan! In the last three years I’ve been trying to hone my very own style, but I also feel like my images are somewhat all over the place. I don’t want to be so strict with my work though, I do want it to evolve with time, but my goal is for my style to be consistent, I want it to be memorable and recognizable. I’d love for my work to be described as romantic, soft and feminine. When I prep for a shoot I like to keep at least one of these three descriptive words in mind so that at least I stay on track. I might shift a little (and that’s okay I think), but when I play around with my words it just saves me from hating my work later on, does that makes sense? I get my inspiration from wedding photographers, that’s where the “romantic” style comes in, but I do not intend to shoot weddings. I love working with flowers though, they are my greatest muse. I’m thinking about revamping my website soon and one of the templates I’m looking to buy is pretty much for wedding photographers, but I love it cause it’s simple yet elegant and feminine. I think that if I go that route with my site, I will be mindful and stay on track by using at least two of my descriptive words when I’m trying to create the kind of work I envision, whether it’s portraits or styled photography. You can get a glimpse here: and here:
    Sorry for the long message lol. I really loved this post! ;) Still catching up on your lovely posts!

  2. Carmen, thank you for the detailed comment, I think it’s important for others trying to define their visual style to read how other individuals are going about it. I did visit your site and your floral image was definitely my fave;) I look forward to seeing how your work evolves!

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