You can’t enjoy digital photography, or improve your skills, unless you spend quality time with your camera in many environments. An earlier two-part PhotographyTalk.com article presented a number of tips about where you may be able to find time to concentrate on photography. This follow-up article will focus on how to create time from what is no doubt an already busy schedule.
Allocate Your Time.
The last tip in that earlier PhotographyTalk.com article was learning and applying time-management skills. The practical value of these skills is to review what you do 24 hours a day and create a daily schedule that lists each task, event and responsibility, and how much time is expended for each. This is your benchmark, your default setting in computer-speak. Once you have this schedule in front of you, it starts to become easier to see the gaps where you could schedule digital photography.
Go to bed earlier two or three nights a week and awaken 30 minutes earlier the next morning. After all, early morning light is one of the best times of the day to shoot.
Combine that diet you should be following with photography time during your lunch hour twice a week. Eat an apple while you’re taking photos for an hour. It’s likely that the area where you work is not one you have the opportunity to photograph often.
Instead of football games all afternoon Saturdays and Sundays, sacrifice one game a weekend in exchange for some photography time.
Planning a long shopping trip next Saturday morning? Divide it in half for two Saturdays and use the rest of the time to “pop ‘til you drop.”
Most importantly, write or add your photography sessions to your schedule. Modern humans seem to be more motivated and compelled to complete a task when it is noted on a paper calendar, computer, cell phone, etc. When you see your photography trip as part of your schedule, it becomes the equal of all other tasks, in terms of its necessity; and knowing that you are planning to visit a local state park next Saturday afternoon should ignite your enthusiasm and creativity.
Create a “Support Group.”
If you’re not a self-starter, then show your schedule to your family members, friends, co-workers, etc. and explain what you are trying to accomplish. Then, ask them to remind you regularly of your commitment to shooting more photography. You can also find excellent support and “kick-in-the-pants” help by scheduling your time with a photo buddy. Granted, it may be difficult to match schedules, but even an occasional photo session with another photographer should drive you to follow your schedule, even when you’re alone. Read the PhotographyTalk.com article, Digital Photography—Make It More Enjoyable With the Buddy System.
Look for Inspiration or a Challenge.
Give your scheduled photo session a definite purpose by being inspired by other photographers’ work and/or challenging yourself to duplicate or exceed their output. The Internet is filled with photographers’ Web sites. Visit galleries or shows too, for a different encounter with photography than you can experience on the Internet. If you shoot with a buddy, then you can challenge each other to shoot a specific subject matter or with a specific technique, and then compare and critique the next time you meet.
Become the Habitual Photographer.
You’ve created a schedule and designated certain time periods for photography. You’re inspired and motivated, but it’s still difficult to make photography a regular event. Although it’s a special activity, the trick is transforming photography into a habit. Your day is already filled with habits; some are enjoyable while others are necessary or required.
Psychologists say that you must repeat an activity or task for approximately three weeks before you mind accepts it as a habit. When you first arrange your schedule, therefore, add entries of exactly what photography you will do for the first three weeks whether it is every day, three times a week, etc. It could also be as simple as telling yourself that you will shoot just five pictures, or frames, every day for three weeks. It’s a bit like boot camp: If you can make it through the first three weeks pushing yourself, then it will become much easy.
Use the tips in all three of these PhotographyTalk.com articles, so you can spend more time with your camera, capturing the world around you with your singular vision.