5 Things I Would Tell My Younger Self About Photography

Books and online video tutorials provide a wealth of information on photography’s technical and logistical aspects, yet, there are certain things that can only be learned via experience. The following are some words of wisdom I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self that may be of use to others.

Finding the beginning of the route can be difficult for anybody just starting on their journey as a photographer, regardless of whether they want to pursue photography as a hobby or as a vocation. This trip is tremendously influenced by everything else that is going on in one’s life, whether it be financially, socially, physically, or even emotionally. This is because this journey is a voyage of self-discovery.

What words of wisdom would you like to impart to the younger version of yourself now that you have gained more life experience? Alternately, if you thought of yourself as the more youthful persona in this scenario, would you listen to what they say? The following is a list of advice I would give my younger self.

1. The essential energy source for your trip will be your passion for what you do.

No, passion is not the only thing you need to get by and get through the challenges of your pursuit to become a successful photographer, no matter what your definition of success may be; however, it is one of the essential foundations for you to begin learning and continue progressing, especially when things get challenging. Passion is the driving force behind a successful photographer’s work.

To this day, I have no clue what sparked my interest in photography in the first place. I can only recall attempting to use a camera that belonged to a buddy. The fact that you can keep it up is the most vital component. During the first five years of my photography career, I shot various subjects, skipping from one photographic subgenre to the next and photographing everything that piqued my attention.

I was reading and collecting photography publications when I wasn’t doing that. Whenever I came across an image that particularly piqued my interest, I would try to recreate it or, at the very least, find out how it had been created. I did as much as I could without giving any thought to the type of photography that I would eventually specialize in. This included capturing pictures of my family and friends as well as photographing insects in the yard.

Even now, many years after I decided to specialize in landscape photography, the lessons I learned by giving almost everything a try continue to be helpful to me in ways I could never have anticipated. They also continue to assist me in overcoming challenges and seizing new opportunities within and outside my comfort zone.

2. You Need to Become Accustomed to Being Hurt.

It is almost impossible for a person to advance in their career as an artist or even as a creative entrepreneur without ever experiencing feelings of discouragement or having their feelings emotionally damaged. One way or another, you will come across individuals who, for whatever reason, do not appreciate the standard of your job or, worse, those who do not like you for reasons related to your personal life.

One of the most critical skills you need to acquire is the ability to differentiate between folks offering you constructive criticism or even just valid criticism and others trolling or hating on you. The first group consists of individuals who do not have any objective basis, who only make meaningless comments, and who, the vast majority of the time, do not engage in this behaviour to bring about change but rather to make themselves feel validated and to feed their fragile sense of self-esteem.

It is important to different people like this from those who may appear to be equally hurtful but are offering helpful lessons or, at the very least, points for improvement. These people could benefit if you could shake the emotional pain off and try to take in what they are saying.

As an artist, you may receive critical feedback in the form of harsh blows to your sense of self-worth at times; nevertheless, at the same time, you will be extended a helping hand to assist you in picking yourself up and going on. Remove the hatred, and focus on the learning opportunities.

3. There are twists and turns along the way, and the endpoint is not predetermined.

The medium of photography undergoes consistent development. The technologies available to us fifty years ago appear old-fashioned compared to the cameras and other devices that are now being manufactured. These technological advancements provide space for new fashions, strategies, and even approaches to using images in various contexts.

Any artist or photographer continually looking to acquire new skills and better their craft will, over time, discover new ways to approach their work and find ways to alter the path they are currently on.

Because of how much I enjoy music, my primary goal was to record live performances like concerts when I initially started getting into photography. Within just two years, this evolved into photographing people and experimenting with macro viewpoints.

After six years of enthusiastically experimenting with virtually everything, I discovered that photographing landscapes brought me the most joy. This, in turn, led to me pursuing a career in photographing architecture while simultaneously following a parallel path of writing about photography and putting new equipment to the test.

The version of myself who was getting started experimenting with the camera would not have even been able to conceive the things that I finally accomplished. Yet, at this point, I am aware that there will be more unexpected twists farther down the road. The key is to keep an eye out for new obstacles and be prepared for them when they arise.

4. You Can Never Have Enough of Your Equipment

You will persuade yourself at some time in the future that all you require are two or three lenses, maybe only one or two camera bodies, and then you will be set. Some people will be able to maintain their consistency about that, but it is more likely that they will shift their perspective.

Some of the things that you first set down might not be the most excellent options anymore as you continue to study and better understand what you actually need to accomplish to bring the visions you envisage into reality.

On the other hand, if you are fortunate enough to buy more costly equipment, whether gained from photography or another line of employment, your options also have the propensity to shift. All of this is, of course, in addition to the reality that there will always be newer equipment you may find yourself desiring at some point in the future.

5. There Is Never Going to Be Enough Money in Your Portfolio

No, this does not imply that you will never be capable of doing anything well. You will be successful if you play your cards correctly. But if you had the same degree of enthusiasm when you started, you will always desire to do better and produce photos that have more of an effect. It’s possible that “Never stop learning” is the piece of guidance that’s been given the most by photographers of all eras, but it’s one that’s always held.

If you continue to educate yourself, you will constantly be evolving. This will mean that your body of work will change along with you, whether the shift is an improvement in the long run or merely a transition into a similar style. There will always be images you adored in the past but that you find less appealing as time goes on, and this is only a sign that you are developing as an individual.

The only thing that will remain the same during your career as a photographer is the steady stream of new challenges and sources of inspiration that will come your way. Your capacity to learn from your experiences and grow will determine how far you progress on your path toward ever more significant possibilities and difficulties.

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