I was speaking with a participant in my macro photography class this past weekend. He is and has been passionate about photography for a long time. He has taken several classes with me and has accumulated a lot of equipment. The problem is… he rarely uses it. He "just doesn't have time".
|Determination- Florida Strawberry Festival 2011|
Many experienced photographers are enthusiastic… ok.... obsessive… about photography. I know this because most days I live it. I'm usually thinking about shooting when I go to sleep, wondering about lighting when I wake up, and spring out of bed in the morning if I'm shooting anything that day! It's been that way for years. I'm not suggesting that anyone needs to be as crazy about it as I am. I'm just saying that motivation and inspiration are the keys to getting you off your butt!
One of the things people love about the Photography 101 class is that there is a weekly assignment. During class they take up the challenge of going out weekly and make photographs with intent. However, they say that after the class is over they lose their motivation. They no longer have a reason to shoot. What has really happened is that they have lost their inspiration to consistently try to become better photographers. This isn't always true. Some people take the class to learn how to take better pictures of their kids, or trips, or flowers, etc. They are motivated! And, they become better photographers shooting what they love. Some people dream, and some people do.
Here are some other hints.
- Don't go with someone who is impatient. Non-photographers don't understand why it takes so long to make a picture. If you can, find someone else who is a photographer or someone who won't push you to hurry.
- Start a personal project. I have several going at one time. Personal projects are collections of photos taken around a central idea or theme. Make it about something that is meaningful for you. You could donate your time monthly for a good cause or pick one genre of photography that really gets you going (portraits, street photography, photojournalism) and make a pact with yourself to improve.
- Go online to one of the many sites that will give you weekly photo assignments. Here's just one. You can search for others easily.
- Join a Meet-Up group or find other photographers with similar interests. Sometimes having others around with whom you can exchange ideas is helpful (and fun). For some folks, committing to meet others makes them more accountable for doing what they say they want to do.
- Buy or borrow a new piece of equipment. It might be a lens, a flash, or even a different camera. Recently some photographic friends of mine and I got some disposable cameras and went out trying to shoot with them at night. It was difficult, but it was a lot of fun!!
- If you are trying too hard, put the camera down for a month. Step away from the lens and find something else to do. When you come back you may be refreshed with a new vision.
- Become a member of an organization like the Florida Museum Of Photographic Arts or the Tampa Museum Of Art. Get on the newsletter list or become a Facebook friend of places like the Centre Gallery at USF. You will be informed of new exhibits and other cool photographic events. If you are not in the Tampa area, find a museum or a gallery close to you. Go and see what other artists do. Take that inspiration and and create your own works.
It's not about how much equipment you have or what brand you use. It's not about dreaming of doing what others have done. Thousands of good ideas never produce the first photograph. That only happens with a camera in your hands. At the end of the day did you take a picture? Are you moving towards your first 10,000 shots? BTW..your second 10,00 is next...!
Keep Hitting That Shutter Button!
For information on other Tampa photography classes, digital photography classes, and Tampa photography workshops feel free to call me or look under the Tampa Photography Classes section. I also give private individual lessons on camera operation and making better photographs and would love to work with you one on one to make you a better photographer. Photography instruction gift certificates are also available. They make great gifts for the photo enthusiast in your life. Let's talk about what you need! 813-786-7780. See you in class!
Chip Weiner is an award winning photojournalist and food photographer in Tampa. He has been a photography instructor for 10 years.
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