Why do you take photographs? Really……what inspires you to pick up your camera? I am sincerely interested in your answer, but most importantly, I want you to articulate your “why” for yourself. Do you shoot to document an event, tell a story, create art, make money, or preserve a memory? Do you reach for your camera as a form of self-care or meditation? Explore your true purpose as a photographer for it will fuel you with the clarity and confidence you need to keep on shooting.
There’s one more thing to get clear about and that’s to understand who you are shooting for – yourself or others? I know many aspiring photographers who start off in high gear – binging on YouTube videos and books in an effort to master several techniques at once. They’ve barely learned one skill before they’re on to tackling another, while amassing more and more camera equipment along the way that they barely know how to operate and probably don’t even need. Although it’s important to master the technical aspects of photography, looking inward will take you farther as a photographer by inoculating you against the perils of perfection and the perception of others.
My advice is to take a chill pill – slow down – pause. Never let perfection be your ultimate goal. If you allow yourself to fall in the perfection trap, every critique, every negative comment, every unfollow will sting like a bee. You’ll become absorbed in how other people think your images should look. People will offer to define perfection for you, and if you don’t know who you are as a photographer and why you shoot – you’ll see your images through their eyes.
Starting today, get still, pause and breath your energy into every photo you take. Your camera is a powerful tool that allows the world to see how you see the world. And no one gets to question or alter your vision unless you allow them to.
Peace and zen,