Regardless whether you are just starting out as a photographer, or you if you have decades of experience under your belt, chances are you hit a point when you wondered where this whole photography thing was headed. Am I right?
The good news for you is that is perfectly normal, even if it happens several, even dozens of times throughout your career. Things change, not only as technology advances, but as your life changes and as your tastes in imagery change. Sometimes even a change in where you live is enough to cause you rethink everything. Sometimes the changes faced can be enough to make you want to quit. Again, that happens to so many of us that you definitely aren’t alone. I’m not going to tell you that this business gets any easier with experience, because honestly if it’s not one thing to overcome then it’s another. When you hit that creative wall, or navigate that impossibly difficult client, or attempt to establish yourself in a new area, it can be pretty overwhelming. However, regardless the situation, you do have some things already working in your favor.
Why Did You Start?
Seriously, think back to when you first picked up a camera and think about what the main reason was for pursuing this thing we call photography. What was it? Whether it was pure curiosity, the desire to excel, a passion for people, a story you needed to tell, there is some intrinsic reason behind your becoming a photographer. Reminding myself about when I started playing with cameras and why is always a good reminder of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come since then, and it is fun to reflect back to what really excited me about the work and the art of photography.
Take a Break
Taking a short break from spending all that time from a camera can be truly beneficial. I inadvertently took a break from photography just recently due to killing a camera; the result of using a faulty dry bag when navigating a swimming section inside technical slot canyon in Zion National Park. I admit, there are much better ways to initiate taking a break from photography, but the lesson I learned is still relatable. While I was figuring out what my next move was, as far as gear was concerned, I spent enough time away from photography of any kind that it got to the point where I realized that I just really missed it. I missed hiking around in the dust, with a way-too-heavy backpack and a camera slung around my neck. I missed the adventure of earning that next shot. My next break will be a more calculated break, but I have realized the value of putting the camera away for a little while to recharge my creative energies.
Honestly one of the other things that I would encourage any photographer to do, regardless of where they sit in their photography career, is to consider what their ultimate photography opportunity would be. Is it a dream job, a dream vacation, a dream paycheck, a dream client list? What is the one thing that you would love to see become a part of your photography, regardless how unrealistic it may seem to try and obtain. We’re dreaming here, so dream as big as you can. Sure, you’re playing with bigger odds when you set goals that lofty, but this is how I see it: there has to be somebody out there that does it, why can’t it be you? You never know who you’ll meet, or what you’ll end up doing in the pursuit of such dreams. I believe that is how you end up creating your own paths, so create an epic freaking path for yourself!
There’s always more gear you can buy, there’s always more money you can make, and there’s always more opportunities that you will have to pick between. Don’t let yourself get caught up into the nitty gritty of the photography to the point where you forget that you have an amazing opportunity at your hands. That opportunity is to capture stories, whether big or small, and to share them with other people. We’re storytellers, we help other people tell some amazing stories, so why not create an amazing story about yourself while in the process?