Shoot Daily: Practice Makes A Man Perfect
So you purchased a new camera; the excitement is high and you shoot everything that comes your way. You click, you post and get critical comments with almost everyone asking you to improve this or improve that!
Its been a month, you feel tired; you get frustrated and now you suddenly get busy with your job / profession! You hardly get time to take out the camera. You have stopped enjoying the learning process!
This phase comes in every beginner’s journey in photography. And what you do now will decide whether you grow as a photographer or leave photography for good.
Just remember one important thing: the photography journey is no different than the journey of life. If things don’t work for you in life, you work harder; you do not quit. Then why is it that you want to quit when things aren’t working for you in photography?
Have you heard of the word Riyaaz? Riyaaz is a term used for music practice for honing vocal and instrumental skills! There is no other way for them to get better in their craft.
Do “Photography Riyaaz” on a daily basis.
Shoot as regularly as you can and ensure each new click is better that the previous one. There is no better teacher than experience, or should I say “honest experience”!
There is a famous quote by the legendry photographer Sir Henry Cartier-Bresson: “Your first 10000 photos are your worst.”
So ensure you click your 10000 photos as soon as possible and you would have already become a famous and successful photographer.
Be Honest To Yourself
What’s this got to do with photography, let alone improving photography? We organise many workshops on photography and keep getting questions like:
“Why should I join?”
“I already know whatever you are teaching, then convince me with reasons of attending your workshop.”
Our answer is always that it is not for me or anyone else to convince you; it is for you to be honest with yourself while analysing your own progress as a photographer.
So you have been photographing since the last 2 years or even 5 years and this is what you have done in these 2-5 years of your photography journey:
Attended tons of Photo Walks in your city?
– Downloaded tons of tutorials from Google?
– Gone through that thingy called Exposure Triangle and seem to have understood it thoroughly?
– Changed your camera gear atleast once and probably even purchased that perfect full frame camera hoping to click better images.
Now, just do one more thing – BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
Dig out atleast 2-3 of your best images (what you thought were your best) from each year of your photography journey and compare them.
– Do they all look alike with just minor improvements here and there?
– Do you still shoot the same flower or person exactly the same way?
– Do you still struggle with nailing the exposure when the light gets tricky and then spend hours in front of the computer trying to “manage” your image?
Remember, your photography will start improving the day you become honest with analysing your own work and know exactly where you stand now in comparison to where you were a year ago.
Always Be A Beginner!
The biggest harm anybody can do to himself is to start feeling that he has arrived as a photographer. That is the moment where the ego takes over, growth stops, and it soon starts stinking bad!
Knowledge and expertise is vital for you to succeed in this fiercely competitive photography world, and for that continuous learning is the key! All top photographers do it, no matter how big and successful they are. Never stop learning and always stay hungry for more. Set reasonable goals! Don’t expect to earn a fortune overnight; instead work hard and move steadily towards your goal.
To sum it all up:
And always stay a beginner!
Do Not Question – Take The Severest Of Critiques With A Pinch Of Salt And Try Finding Some Value In Each Of Them.
Now that’s the tough part. Everybody says that they want their images to be critiqued but when someone does it they start defending, explaining and cursing. Let’s be honest, friends. We all suffer from diseases called “Defendomonia” and “Explainicitis”. We defend a lot and explain a lot and that too unnecessarily. We also start questioning the knowledge and intent of the person who is critiquing. Now tell me how does it serve the purpose? Will it help you in any way?
When you defend, you start convincing yourself that you are a good photographer. But to improve, you need to know your shortcomings so that you can work on them and improve.
Just understand this and climb up the ladder of improvement:
Cannot control how someone else reacts to my image, so why get hassled. Also there is subjectivity involved; what sounds polite to someone else may sound offending to me.
I can certainly control how I react to those comments, and more than anything else I can certainly control how to improve my own photography.
Try and see value in each comment or critique. Absorb what is right and brush aside what you feel is wrong and move on.
But remember its these critical comments which will make you see what is wrong with your image.
Do Not Rely On Social Media For Improvement
Facebook and Instagram are wonderful social media platforms but certainly not a photo sharing / critique site. Remember the “Likes” and “wows” that you get on your images are not for the images but for you. And they can distract you very easily and soon you will start hating the people who give sincere constructive feedback and you will stop learning and growing as a photographer.
Instead, join a forum where no one knows you. It is there that people will comment based on the quality of your image, and that will help you become better.
Photography is easy provided you are hard on yourself and it is super tough if you are easy on yourself. Keep putting in hard work, keep shooting daily and come out a better photographer on the other side of the dark tunnel.