This post is written for every photographer that isn’t necessarily a professional photographer. Instead, you might be a passionate photographer. But there’s pressure within the photography world to just be a better photographer all the time. Yet the world doesn’t also realize that sometimes you need to take a break from growth and just sustain instead. That’s why, no matter what, know that not all of your pictures need to be good if you just enjoy taking them.
This might sound very confusing to many photographers out there, but it shouldn’t be. Because here are some very real truths:
- If you’re constantly trying to just make your best or even good photos, you’re going to eventually hate the craft and hate your work. There’s nothing wrong with hating your work when you know you can do better and if you can identify how you can improve. That’s part of the learning process that every single photographer goes through.
- If you’re never taking photos just for fun or for the joy of it, then you’re never going to be able to fully connect with the emotional side of your craft. This will make your photos more and more robotic. And if that’s the case, then an AI can replace you. But you, dear passionate photographer, are what makes your photos so unique.
- You’re bound to annoy other people if you’re constantly just trying to be a perfectionist. You don’t have to be perfect each and every time.
- If you keep fixating on the bad things in your photos without focusing and acknowledging the good things, you’ll never be able to gauge your own progress.
- If photography isn’t bringing you joy, then you’re not going to be able to pivot easily into doing another form of the craft.
I remember when I was a younger photographer, and all I wanted was feedback on how to make my images better. I surely got that feedback, but I was never taught how to implement it to shoot better photos. That took a lot more time. And the best kind of feedback gives you ways how to make those images better. In reality, though, you’re not always going to get the feedback that you need.
This is also another reason why I believe that photographers need to enjoy the process instead of always fixating on the end result all the time. The act of photography and improving our craft is a marathon, not a sprint. In fact, it’s a career-long marathon for so many different photographers.
This year, the On Taking Pictures podcast came back. I remember listening to Bill Wadman talk about how he was going through creative dry spells and him evolve as a photographer. And recently, I’ve heard him talk more about it. Bill also does creative work every single day with different people through portrait projects. He also does a lot of professional shoots. In the podcast, he’s sometimes mentioned that he didn’t get joy from taking photos. And as a photographer of 16 years myself, I can relate to that.
Right now, I’m in a creative project spell and I haven’t found something that really motivated me to want to shoot a lot since the Pandemic. I know that I’ve made good and even great photos before though. And I don’t expect everything to always be museum-worthy at all. But when I go out to shoot photos for myself, I genuinely enjoy the process. I even know those all of those won’t necessarily be my best work. However, they’re bound to impress someone.