Whenever I begin a photography workshop I always start by emphasizing what I believe to be the greatest single asset any photographer must possess. You can't steal it, you can't copy it, because it is a part of who you are. It is your individual uniqueness and your ability to be true to yourself and your own vision.
Each one of us view the world differently. We have different likes and dislikes, from our taste in music to the food we eat. When we try to emulate other people's style we start to blend into the masses of photographers instead of standing out from the crowd. The process of creating a great photograph is not a trade secret kept under lock and key. We just tend to overlook the creative process, the emotions that drive us and makes us want to pick up the camera in the first place. Now while there is a technical aspect to photography, what makes us tick is more important than what lens we use or whether or not we use a flash.
No matter what aspect of the photographic process we want to learn or master from using lighting to Photoshop blending modes, it is imperative to approach the creative process from an emotional view point more than a technical one. Choices will have to be made, and choices that only you can make. So while getting inspiration from other photographers is great, let your vision speak loudly. Get out of the box, experiment, have fun and let your artistic vision soar.