Whether you’re an amateur or a professional photographer, complexity, confusion, and chaos are your enemies. When your life is chaotic and you’re feeling out of sorts, you’ll be unfocused and your photography will suffer. As a creative person, the last thing you want is to neglect your creative pursuits like photography.
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” – August Rodin
Here are 5 ways for you to simplify your life so that you can focus clearly on your life and love of photography.
1. Tidy up a mess
“Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris
One of the simplest ways to bring some order to life around you is to tidy up a mess. Find space that you’ve got control over and clean it up. Start with your desk, or clean up your bedroom. Maybe you’ve got piles of stuff laying around the house. Choose one pile, sort it out, and put it away.
Once your space is clean, make it beautiful. Make a print of your favorite photo and frame it. Place it on your desk or hang it on the wall. Creating a tidy and beautiful space around you will help you simplify the chaos and encourage your creativity.
2. Organize your photography gear
“There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.” – Jackie French Koller
Gather up all your photography gear into one place. This is especially helpful if you’ve got equipment stashed all over your house or apartment.
Clean it thoroughly, sort it out, and sell what you don’t need. By simplifying your gear, you’ll have fewer decisions to make and you’ll be freer to take photos when you’re in the moment.
For example, instead of wasting time wondering which of your eight lenses you should use, you’ll have three favorite ones from which to choose.
Organizing and simplifying the gear you own is one way to simplify your life. But another way is to simplify your desire for more gear.
Photographers are notorious for suffering from GAS – gear acquisition syndrome. Buying new gear is necessary from time to time, but sometimes buying stuff is an easy way to feel like a photographer rather than actually being one.
Make the most of the gear you’ve alredy got and only purchase what will truly allow you to take more creative photos.
3. Learn one new thing
“Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.” – Martin H. Fischer
You’ve embraced simplicity by cleaning up some small space, you’ve made that space more beautiful by printing and framing one of your photos, and you’ve begun relieving your GAS.
Now, take your favorite camera and lens and go learn something new. But learn just one new thing at a time. As a creative photographer, you’re likely eager to learn many new things and become a better photographer. That is a worthy ambition. But don’t pile on too much learning at once. That will only hold you back.
Choose just one article, book, or course, and master that before moving on. DPS has a lot of tips and articles for you to learn from, but they have also organized and simplified topics with their books and courses.
4. Create a photography project
“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.” – John Maeda
With your new learning, why not tackle a photography project?
Many photographers have thousands of disorganized and disconnected photographs. And they have dozens of ideas in mind for what they will photograph next. Make of list of everything you’re interested in trying as a project and then choose one thing from the list to accomplish.
Instead of the chaos of too many options and ideas, choose one thing and bring it to life. Maybe you could take a day trip to a favorite location. Or gather together friends for a portrait project. Maybe you should sort through photos from the past and create a photo book.
In just a few days or weeks you could have a finished project and something new to hang in your tidied up space. Tackling a project will help simplify your life and bring order and accomplishment to your day.
5. Photography business
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci
It is natural for photographers to consider starting a photography business. It’s a natural move since entrepreneurs and creative people are cut from the same cloth. Starting a photography business may seem like the ultimate way to live as a photographer. But even with a business, you must keep it as simple as possible.
If you’re already in business consider ways that you can simplify your photography business:
- Keep your business aligned with what you actually love to photograph.
- Offer one type of photography rather than doing everything.
- Choose a simple pricing strategy.
- Create a simple mobile-friendly website.
- Put limits on how long your workday will be.
- Create simple systems to make your workday flow.
- Carve out lots of time for family and friendships.
Start simple and make steady progress
Take the next 90 days (3 months) to simplify your life and your photography. Clean up your spaces, appreciate the gear you’ve got, learn just one new thing, and bring it all together with a photography project. If you have a photography business or are thinking of starting one – keep it simple by keeping all the parts simple.
Let me know in the comments what you plan to simplify first.