By Derek Halkett
I can see how photography can be very frustrating for some people. If you come into the field with the sole purpose of making money, then you will be in for a difficult experience. Photography should be fun and enjoyable for the photographer. The beauty of being a photographer is being able to reinvent yourself each time you approach an image. You can constantly challenge and better your work and that (for me) is where the passion is created. If money comes as an incidental part of your desire to shoot portraits or weddings, then it allows you to buy more gear, which gets you right back to where you started. Keep on shooting and remember why it is you do it.
For those of you that don’t do it for monetary purposes, photography can be a stress relief and gives you reason to explore more places and look at more things that you would have never looked at before. It truly opens your eyes to the world around you and makes you more appreciative of life and the beauty that exists beyond all the ugliness and negativity we are fed each and every day of our lives. You can get great shots with any camera. Never let your gear limit you, instead learn to master what you’ve got and try to capture the best possible images you can. Here are my seven reasons to shoot and share your images:
Even iPhone shots are good enough to print: We are seeing more and more publications accept images shot with an iPhone. The most recent MacWorld Cover was shot with an iPhone 4. F-Stoppers shot an entire fashion shoot with a 3GS. It doesn’t matter if you are shooting with a point and shoot camera or a $5000 Professional DSLR, its your eyes that find and capture the great image, not the camera.
The more you shoot, the more you learn, the better you get: I feel like I’ve come a long way in a very short time. I honestly didn’t have a clue how to do anything technical when I started out. I often made big mistakes and took crummy photos. Instead of feeling bad when you take a poor photo, analyze it and try to figure out why it’s poor and how you can improve your skills for next time.
Most learning happens by “just doing it”: I have taken photography classes and have read hundreds of photography related articles and publications. I must say that there is no substitute for “just doing it.” Trial and error and learning from your mistakes has served me the best thus far.
Other photographers are your greatest allies: Whenever I meet another photographer, I completely barrage them with questions about gear, lighting, techniques, etc. I find most photographers are completely open to sharing information and are looking to trade secrets and tips. You can meet tons of photographers on Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook. Share your ideas, go for photo walks and garner inspiration from them.
Believe in yourself and your photographic abilities: We all have bad days, unproductive days, but it’s the people that keep plodding through the difficult times that end up succeeding. I’m very hard on myself and my photography, and I know that I am my own worst critic. Now, if I’m having a bad day with my Nikon, I’ll switch things up and shoot with my iPhone. I find by taking the pressure off and just shooting for fun, I can overcome a lot of my self-critical negativity. At the end of the day, we shoot because we love photography, not to create perfect images.
Share your photos: If I hadn’t started by own website, flickr, Facebook, twitter, pinterest, Google+ and every other social/photography related web source, I would not have learned as much and would never have received the constructive criticism I needed to become a better photographer. A second bonus is the greater distribution your photos have, the more people will see them and the greater opportunities you have to publish or sell your images. So start sharing your shots! Plus, it really helps to have others both praise and criticize your work.
I was told that if you put in the time and effort and have the proper dedication (and a little bit of an eye) one can make money with photography. For me, its not so much about the money and more about having fun and being able to support my hobby turned second job. Making money, although not a necessity; would be a welcomed bonus. Unfortunately, every Tom, Dick and Harry has a DSLR and is running a photography business out of his or her home. Challenge yourself to be one step above the rest so that you can stand out from the sea of photographers. More importantly, remember to keep on smiling and having fun with it
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