Today’s a special day, because I’m posting for the very first time on my shiny new website. It’s been a fun process getting it going. Everything I Know is an opportunity to do something new, to stretch myself in different ways. I love taking pictures, but it’s a visual medium that doesn’t really offer a lot of true, written-or-spoken-word storytelling potential. It has loads and loads of capacity to communicate in other ways, but it’s just different. So this represents a cool new start for me.
I thought for awhile on what I wanted my very first post to be. I thought it might be what gear I use, I thought it might be a hit list of the things I’ve learned, I thought it might be some of the mistakes I’ve made. But after awhile, it became clear what the starting attempt should be.
I’ll preface this by saying that you can read what I’m about to tell you in nearly any blog, book, article, or magazine about creative work. It’s not a new perspective, it’s not special.
So without further ado, for post number one, I want to talk about the opposite of a start: Stopping.
If you’re interested in photography, interested enough to try it, you’re likely going to be very excited once you start trying to become a photographer. Maybe you can’t get enough of taking pictures, maybe you love tinkering with edits, maybe you’re reading about great photographers nonstop. Maybe it’s all of the above, but one way or another, I’d bet that you’re totally into the pursuit in some way. You’re hungry, you’re motivated, you’re on your way.
And you go and you go and you go, and… then you hit a bump in the road. And if you’re like me, maybe you stop. I get busy, I get frustrated with the finished product I’m delivering, I’m just not seeing the angles right and the initial photos don’t even feel like they’re any good.
Whatever your reason, I’m here to tell you: Whatever you can do within reason, just don’t stop. Keep going. Keep taking pictures.
I’ll be honest: I never follow my own advice. Sometimes, I stop. I stop shooting, I stop reaching out to people, I stop taking invites to collaborate. I get focused on other things, I get caught up in my own junk.
What I never see coming is what the moment’s going to be that makes me want to “come back.” Sometimes, I open up Lightroom to find a photo and realize I haven’t shot in weeks, sometimes longer. Sometimes, it’s a really nice day outside that strikes me – here in Seattle, there’s a big chunk of the year where the weather makes it challenging to shoot outdoors. Sometimes, it’s somebody telling me they like my work or they’d like to work with me. Sometimes, it’s a friend asking what I’ve been up to, because it sure hasn’t been photography. Sometimes, I’ve had a little break and I start to want to get back in the saddle.
Regardless of what it is that makes me want to come back, one thing always holds true for me: I shouldn’t have stopped in the first place, because then I’d have taken even more pictures between the last time I shot some photos and this moment where I realize I should’ve kept taking pictures.
So if you in general really like photography, and you want to try to get better – don’t stop because right now you don’t like it. You’ll come back sooner or later. And the longer you wait, the more time you’ll have spent not getting better.
It might as well be sooner you start getting better again.
Until next time,