Very often I listen to amateur photographers who are desperate with themselves. They simply continue to feel out of place in the world of photos – sometimes a harsh ciritic comes in and it is just too much. They only want one thing: Better photos. But they have the feeling, that they’d never to arrive there, because there is always someone who isn’t satisfied with their work – sometimes it’s even themselves. If you can identify with this, then this post is for you.
I know this situation well and have also struggled with these problems in my career. Even today it isn’t always easy. But on my way with the camera, I have found reasons why it is important to never give up. What follows has helped me to get through all of this. Even when I think I simply cannot continue.
You’re not alone.
Even if you think that you’re the only one that feels how you feel – which is true to some extent – because nobody feels like you I can promise you: There are more despearate people out there than you think. Only the few dare to openly talk about it, because they are afraid of being laughed at. Sometimes it just looks like everybody is sucessfull and happy with their photography but that’s simply not true. You’re not alone.
Talk about it.
Speak to your photo buddies. In hard times I have had the best experiences with photo friends (that i trust) when i shared my problems in photography openly and honestly. I was really surprised by many reactions. Many said : “Oh, yes – I know that! I had this problem …”- others said “Hang in there, you can do it!” Of course you’ll have to be sensitive in how to tell your story – your friends should not drown in your tears 😉
Mistakes are allowed.
Slipped up? Set your settings with ISO 10000000 at the wrong place at the wrong time? Massivly underexposed? Badly composed? Yes, this is stupid and annoying. But this must be clear: Mistakes are okay. They belong to the journey with your camera. Sure, we want to avoid them and better delete them from our history. But in life there is no delete – because mistakes happen and they are okay. Look at the portfolio of inspiring pro – photographers. What do you see? The good Pictures. What don’t you see ? The thousands of poor photos.. And without them the photographer would never have come so far. They belong to the journey. Only those who make mistakes can learn from them.
Analyze fierce criticism objectively.
This is hard but important. In the first moments when we get harsh and fierce words about our shots we tend to react emotionally (that is one of my big weaknesses). So better wait an hour or two. When the first frustration is over, think about the words again. Ask yourself: Where’s the commentor possibly right? Does he speaks perhaps to a point on which you’re sensitive? Or is he just wrong because his words are offensive and he makes false generalizations about you or your work? If you’re very unsure, then read the criticism with a good friend and ask him / her for a feedback. Someone from outside can be much more relaxed and be an objective judge and that can move you forward.
Photograph as usual.
Do not be disappointed when you images don’t look perfect. Stay the course. Stick to your plan and continue to photograph. With this dedication you can’t be beaten. You can do it.
Free yourself of any pressure. As long as you do not have a contract for photographic work, you don’t have to shoot under pressure. Yes, we want to be better and all the best yesterday. But growth takes time and dedication. It doesn’t make sense to shoot hundreds of thousands of photos every day and to be completely exhausted after 3 weeks. Slowly is better than never.
Emphasize your successes.
If you look at your pictures, what goes through your head? Do you see only the pictures where you apparently failed or even the good ones? Both are important. In order to learn from mistakes, you need to know them. But the good images must be celebrated big time. These are those which encourage you. The are the proof – black on white – for your skills. Dare to be proud of these shots
Never give up. Never.