Tips to Avoid Becoming a Stagnant Photographer

Becoming a photographer and sticking with it is a true challenge. All levels of photographers go through stagnant phases filled with a roller coaster of emotions. Feelings can range from “My work isn’t good enough.” to “I need to find that next best thing.”, or just simply - “This sh*t sucks!”. These feelings can be sourced from your own internal thoughts, feedback provided by clients and friends, or reading negative online comments from internet trolls. Regardless of your level of skill it’s important to remember the more you practice the better you’ll feel about your work and skills. Practice makes perfect is such a cliché statement that gets thrown around quite a lot, but it’s very valid when talking about photography.

Here are some tips to help prevent that stagnation and help you feel better about your work and feel more proud of the results.

GET OUT AND SHOOT

The number one thing any active photographer can do to help push their skills forward is just get out and practice. You may think you should only practice the style or subjects you’re into but I’m an avid believer in breaking out of the box and trying new things. We are fortunate enough to live in a big city with lots of possibilities but it doesn’t matter where you live, you have some options available to you if you get creative. Get outdoors and walk around, explore local parks or hiking areas, walk the streets downtown. While street photography may not be our main focus, we find it’s a great thrilling way to overcome certain fears while having to stay on our toes and be quick about the work. Shooting without an agenda opens your time up to focus on camera settings and just keep your eyes open for what pops out next. You never know what you’ll come across from unique architecture to interesting people or a random event you didn’t know was happening around town. Look into local events, farmers’ markets, car or air shows, group meetups or local band concerts. These are all great opportunities to step outside your comfort zone and test your skills.

TRY NEW IDEAS

You don’t always have to leave the house or studio to break outside the box and explore new ideas. Trying new lighting techniques, angles, or even testing new equipment can all happen without leaving home base. Try new props, read more blogs online, ask other photographer friends what they do for practice. Just because someone else has done it before doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new. Read up on other photographers’ techniques and give them a try, you may hate them, or you may love them but you’ll never know until you try.

TEST YOUR RESULTS

Take those new shots and get them out there, show people, seek feedback. This brings us back to those pesky internet trolls and all their negative comments. Drop that idea that someone commenting on the internet has control over your passion and future – they don’t. It’s good to take all feedback with some level of seriousness because maybe they’re right and you should listen. Don’t let it get you down, turn it into a positive and learn from it. This is reason enough to not hesitate to post those pics up on Instagram or Facebook and hashtag the hell out of them and see what kind of results you get. We have a lot of pics that have been posted on social media over the years and when looking back we think “Just…why? What was I thinking?” but we don’t delete them out of anger, we use it as a reminder that we were once there and learned something from it that can be rolled up into the tool bag of thoughts for the future.

To summarize – Get out there and shoot, seek new ideas, and post your results for feedback. This is the process we have used many times when motivation and inspiration is sought after. All pictures included in today’s blog were taken using this technique, exploring local events and looking for that next awesome shot.

We hope you enjoyed today's blog. We’re always happy to help others learn the knowledge we’ve gained over the years. If you have any questions or would like some further reading, please reach out to us via our contact page, follow us on Facebook, or sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page. You can always check back here every Friday for a new photography related blog post.

Have a great weekend!