Here’s a fact that some of us forget: we don’t always have to do photography professionally. And it doesn’t even have to be semi-professional. There’s a big need to do it as a hobby for so many of us because it enhances our current experiences in life. When posting photos and sharing them in groups or online, you’re bound to run into trolls. And truly, I think you should forget about them. Here’s how to shoot photos you enjoy.
If you’re wondering why I’m writing this piece, it isn’t because I ran into trolls. I know I’m good already, but I also know that I’m not the best. Running Phoblographer for 14 years also makes me realize that people can be really awful overall. Even if someone hates my photos, that’s fine. There are still a ton of people who will love them.
But truly, I stopped caring about what both sides say a long time ago.
Think About What Makes You Happy
Let’s be very honest here: if you’re taking a picture, ask yourself three questions:
- Does it make you happy?
- Is anyone being hurt or harmed by your taking photos?
- Is there some malicious or voyeuristic reason why you’re taking the photos?
If the answer to your questions are yes, no, and no, then you’re fine. You should keep taking photos of that landscape you love. The portraits you shoot should be done to a point that makes you happy. Those candid moments that you’re capturing are incredibly precious. And more importantly, millions of people died in the past few years. They would’ve loved to have had one more day to casually take photos for the fun of it.
As long as the photos that you’re shooting bring you joy, that’s all that matters. This should be really analyzed internally, though. I’ve shot photos that I was okay with. I’ve also shot photos that I absolutely hated. And sometimes, I shoot photos that make me fall in love with the image, a product, a person, etc. Those are the photos that remind me why I do this at times.
Think About the Type of Things You Like Shooting
To shoot photos you enjoy, you should often think about the things that you’re passionate about in life. Is it your friends? What about your family? Or maybe it’s the experiences that you’re having. No matter what, if you’ve got your camera with you and it’s not getting in the way of you having the actual experience, then I think that you’re just fine. This is an important part that so many photographers forget about: you have to remember to be a part of whatever is happening.
Tell Everyone Else That What They Say Doesn’t Matter
This part really is for the folks that post photos that they’re very happy about in Reddit, in groups, and more. If someone starts berating your work without giving constructive criticism, then they’re probably just trolling. And there’s a big difference between seeding the opinions of a bunch of people who might not pay you for your work vs. a client or a person that’s been hired for a critique.
Most of all, you probably don’t necessarily need to satisfy anyone. If you’re sharing your images, think of a reason why you’re sharing them. Let people know the reasons why. You can’t really go into groups designed for conversations and then say to yourself “Well, I don’t need to let people know why I’m sharing them.” You’re then more or less just disproving the point of the group.
Either way, just take photos and be happy. Forget what anyone else says.