With the new year comes a certain amount of reflection. As a photographer, the year is full of ups and downs, and you learn a lot of things about the industry and yourself at the same time. For me, I know that I’ve grown immensely over the many years that I’ve done photography, and in reflection, I can narrow some of those things down to a few great decisions that I’ve made. Our choices guide who we end up being, after all, and I’m happy to say that, for the most part, I’ve been able to choose some great things. Here are a few of the best decisions I’ve made as a photographer!
Opened myself up to learn from others - When you’re fresh in the field as a new photographer, you can feel overwhelmed, and scared to ask questions from veterans around you. You want to prove that you can make it on your own, after all, and asking someone for help would signal that you aren’t what you make yourself out to be - right? I was prone to the same mindset, as I think we all are to some degree, and I had to make the decision to seek to learn from those around me. Nowadays, since I’m one of those veterans, I am constantly inspired by the creativity of my peers, and I love being a part of a community that seeks to help each other. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made!
Never let an obstacle get the best of me - Beautiful photos are made by pouring your soul into them. As a photographer, my mind is always buzzing with ideas, and I love the challenge of bringing those ideas to life. Early on, I’ve had to make the decision to work hard to make my ideas happen, because there were always many obstacles I had to claw and scrape over to make my dreams real. This isn’t just true for photographers, either - every one of us has to make the decision not to let an obstacle get the best of us, and at the same time recognize that some obstacles are there for a reason. Now, I embrace the challenges, and sometimes even crave them, as they fuel my creativity.
Accepted failure and learn from mistakes - Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. For me, this has shown up the most in scenes I’ve had in my head that I tried to recreate. I would try and try to make it happen, but in the end the pieces just don’t come together, and I have to make the decision either to force them together, or let it go. It’s been a hard decision, but over time, I’ve learned to become more comfortable with failure and see it instead as an opportunity to grow in my skill. This is a good decision to make earlier in life, because when we aren’t comfortable with failure, we let it ruin our worlds. Some of the best lessons I’ve learned are from swallowing my pride, and allowing a failure to be a failure.
Made time to sit and be quiet - This is one that took me a while to decide on. We only have 24 hours in a day, and if you’re starting your own business or working freelance, you know that you’re spending 14 or so of those hours working, and the rest trying to set your buzzing mind to rest and prepare for bed and the next day. I took my creativity for granted, because it came to me easily - until it didn’t. Like writer’s block, sometimes I would have a hard time coming up with new ideas. I had to realize that, to be creative, I had to slow down and be quiet, and let my mind wander on its own, without other distractions. Once I decided to do this, I came up with ideas for scenes, locations, and themes that I wouldn’t have come up with otherwise.
Those are some of the best decisions I’ve made so far as a photographer. Life presents a ton of choices every day, and each decision we’re making is changing us. Are you becoming who you want to be?