Today I was thinking about how lucky I am to be a photographer and what it means in my life. Photography has taught me so many things about myself and Life in general. So without further ado, here are Life Lessons I have learned from photography–not in any real order of importance:
1. Always start with a plan. Like going on a road trip, you need to have some idea of your final destination and how to get there. Road maps are thought to be antiquated, but I think they are invaluable. You may need to detour, but always have a plan in place. It just makes your life so much easier. And Siri is an idiot anyway, so think for yourself. Don’t be a drone.
2. Get it right in the camera. Because who really wants to spend hours and hours exposure and color correcting in Photoshop? Thank you David Anthony Williams for making me promise to “Never, ever fix things in Photoshop again.” You were right.
3. Sometimes you screw up and don’t get it right in the camera. Knowing when to quit and start over is an invaluable skill set. Translates to all aspects of Life.
4. Screwing up is not necessarily a bad thing because it teaches you stuff. I actually learn more from the screw ups, so I don’t look at them as Tragedies of Epic Proportion any longer. Well, at least I try not to. Sometimes when I am feeling dramatic, I wallow in thinking something I did was utter crap for a few hours (ok–sometimes days). But I get over it and move on.
5. Sometimes you need to take a break, walk away, and then come back and look at something with a fresh perspective. You might see something entirely different after you take a break. And that can be a really, really great thing. And sometimes you just throw it out and start again. See No. 3.
6. You will never be able to make everyone happy 100% of the time. Do your best with what you have to work with at that time. That is all you can do. If anyone has a problem with that, it is their issue not yours. You can only do your best, whatever it is at that moment in time.
7. Make time to create things just for yourself as an artist/creative. When I don’t do this, I am just miserable. Doing personal projects is a way for me to explore new things and go to places that I would not consider “safe” in my client work. Being “unsafe” is a really fast way to grow. It can be exciting/fun/scary. Not everything I do as a personal project is a masterpiece. And that is totally ok. It is all about the process.
8. With Photography, I am always learning new things. I don’t ever want to stagnate and stop learning. Stagnation = Death. If I get to the point that I am no longer photographing, I will pick something else to learn about. Like Cooking, or maybe Gardening, or a language. Who knows.
9. Find your own voice. There is a quote (and I am sure I am messing this up totally) that is like “You can mimic the result but not the creativity.” You can be inspired by other artists or people, but find your own way to express things. It is more interesting. No one wants to see the same old things regurgitated over and over. How boring and mindless. Maybe what you have to say is more interesting. But you will never know unless you start finding your own voice.
That’s it–Life Lessons 101.