It’s a learning experience.
Be wary of the equipment bug.
Too serious by half.
Photos are for viewing.
Stick to your guns.
Unnecessary equipment loyalty.
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Maybe, the greatest pitfall for any type of photographer—beginner, hobbyist and professional—is losing the element of fun. It’s easy to become obsessive about capturing the best pictures at a family gathering or advancing your skills and results beyond the novice or spending hours for that perfect professional image that wins awards or new, high-paying clients.
Photography, like most creative pursuits, becomes much less than what it should be or what you expected when you forget to have fun for any reason. Whenever you suddenly discover that photography is no longer fun then step back and examine your approach and the process according to the following points.
You’re not born with the abilities to be a photographer; and there are certainly many concepts and techniques to learn that could fill a number of lifetimes. Even the most experienced pros will tell you that often the opportunity to be always learning drives them more than making a buck or receiving an award. Don’t be discouraged if you are having trouble understanding a specific concept or seem unable to make a shooting technique work correctly. Take a deep breath and maybe shelve that concept or technique and move to another one, where you can experience some success. Achieving your photography or any of life’s goals is often the key to having fun.
Like a virus, your enjoyment of photography can be overwhelmed by focusing too much on equipment, especially the items you’d like to buy. Purchasing new equipment is infectious and is often a mistaken substitute for learning how to have fun with the camera you already own. It’s the same for the hobbyist and the pro: the market is full of glittering and often remarkable gear, many of which are meant to compel you to spend money and not necessarily improve your photography or your fun.
Whenever the equipment bug bites you, take control of yourself and your wallet and take the time to consider if you actually need it, or simply want the latest whiz-bang item. A good method to refocus your interest is stop being emotional about you want and become objective. Study the equipment’s specifications, compare them to competitive products and ask others what they think or have experienced with that equipment. The PhotographyTalk Forum is the perfect place to do just that. Think also about the additional costs that you may incur if you buy more equipment: a larger camera bag, additional insurance, another item that may need to repaired, etc.
No doubt, photography is serious business for the professional, and even the hobbyist who is eager to produce higher quality images. That seriousness must be in balance with a feeling of enjoyment, even if the results are less than satisfactory. Do you find yourself spending your entire vacation with your eyes glued to the LCD screen on the back of your camera? As a professional, do you think you must carry every piece of equipment you own with you on assignment? Once you recognize these signs, you have likely made the photography process a burden and not an opportunity to enjoy the world around you and the people in it.
King Midas obsessively hoarded his wealth, unwilling to share it or even allow others to know he had it. Photography will be much more fun when you readjust your mindset and consider the photos you shoot as “community property.” Your images belong to the world, not to you. Social media makes it very easy to share your photos with not just your friends, but people living on the other side of the world. More importantly, you can’t be afraid to have your photos critiqued or receive compliments. One of the best learning opportunities for photographers of every skill level and stripe is to ask more experienced photographers to comment on their results. True professionals don’t hoard advice and guidance, either, and are eager to help beginners and hobbyists have fun with their photography, as they learn.
Nothing will suck the fun from photography more than relinquishing control of your creative freedom to others, or to current fads and trends. Part of being a professional, of course, is giving one’s clients what they want, and expect. The solution for the professional is to shoot both the “requirements” of the client and alternative images based on the pro’s vision. Clients will often find the professional’s approach better than what they are dictating. For non-professionals, it’s important to develop a unique vision that reveals their true level of creativity than simply shooting what appears to be popular.
Canon and Nikon, specifically, as well as other brands have purposely created separate cultures for themselves, and then convinced photographers through marketing that they must choose one or the other, and remain loyal. Some manufacturers do a better job with one type of camera, lens or other equipment, while others excel at alternatives. The fun comes from knowing how to use and achieve your best results from any camera instead of thinking that the brand of camera is responsible for your creativity.
Photo copyright PhotographyTalk member Sabrina
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