Contributor Conversations: Meghan Plowman on the journey to finding your own artistic style as a photographer

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Perth-based photographer and art director Meghan Plowman has amassed a major online following for her unique aesthetic that seamlessly blends naturalistic lifestyle photography with minimalist interior styling.

Plowman’s muted palette of choice (as seen in her Canva portfolio: The Colour Grey) is as much a balancing act between the luxurious and the simple as it is between the intimate and the aspirational. Her elegant restraint in both subject matter and composition best represents the current wave of minimalism that has taken hold of lifestyle stock photography.

We caught up with the multi-hyphenate creative to talk about her personal path towards finding her own voice as a photographer.

Florist working desk

Photo by Meghan Plowman

Tell us about your journey as a lifestyle photographer. How did you develop your own distinct style?

This is a tricky one as I don't really think too much about my style. It's not an intentional thing, but rather instinctual. I take images of what I like and whatever draws my eye.

I've never felt pressure to take images in a particular style, rather, I have always given myself freedom when shooting—like no one else would see my images except for me. Having fun, experimenting, and staying true to what I love to see is how I’ve developed.

Where do you look to for inspiration?

I find inspiration through artists and other visionaries—architects, fashion designers, thinkers, and craftsmen. I believe this job is about seeing and refining your eye to see the world in new ways.

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Photo by Meghan Plowman

What was it about still life photography that you gravitate towards?

I love still life and what it can say about life's moments—even staged still life imagery. I like the mystery and the shapes and forms that still imagery can create. It can tell stories, be literal, beautiful, but also abstract and fun.

There is a lot of restraint in your style—from your composition to your palette. What about that appeals to you?

I am certainly drawn to an earthier palette. I could say that sort of minimalism calms me, but really, I just find it beautiful and elegant.

Pineapples on grey bench with hat

Photo by Meghan Plowman

How did you end up discovering stock photography?

In 2014, I was approached by Canva and asked to contribute. I took a chance and have loved the creative freedom, as well as knowing that others are finding my work useful for their own businesses and creations.

What are some of the biggest challenges that you faced as a stock photographer?

The same challenges that anyone working in freelance faces: balance, learning when to outsource, when to say no, how to wear many different hats, and most importantly, how to not compare yourself with anyone else. You have to learn that you have a set of eyes that no one else on the planet has. Learn to use them and stay true to your style. I'm still learning all of the above, by the way!

How did joining Canva help you with these challenges?

Seeing people respond to my work—the work I created in my own time when I was completely brief-free—helped me with my confidence. It helped me see that I have something to offer and it made me feel more brave in trying new things.

As a platform, Canva makes me feel like I am a part of something big, something that is actually being utilised by users around the world. I get to share my work and practice while doing it. It’s a great platform to be a part of and to be seen, and it gives you a chance to earn extra income while you stretch your skills. I love how easy it is to be a part of this community, and also how innovative it is.

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Photo by Meghan Plowman

Do you have any tips for other photographers who are still struggling to identify their own style?

As product, flat lay, still life, and commercial photography are on the rise (especially on social media), it might seem like there's a lot of competition out there. I think that's a great challenge for all image-makers to bring something new to the table.

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Photo by Meghan Plowman

I think the most important thing is to stay true to your own journey and bring that to your craft. We are lucky, as photographers, that we get to share our work in a visual way; so bring all of you to your creative process and have fun showing your ideas off to the world. Try not to get too distracted by technical things—f stops, gear and the like. You will learn all of that, but the key thing is knowing what kind of image you want to make and then going out and making it!