Dear friends, the old and controversial 2016 has gone and a brand new year has already begun. Some of us like to do an overview of the past year, balancing the good and the bad, trying to synthesize some useful conclusions, followed by some “kind of a plan” for the new year to come.
I try to stay positive and learn from my past mistakes. This new year with its beginning will surely bring the opportunity for a change, to carry new approaches into play. To apply the lessons that I have learned and move the things towards improvement on many levels. Including Photography.
The interesting thing is that photography is related with so many other aspects of personal life, because photography is a very personal thing, closely linked to the state of mind and soul of the photographer. Inspiration in photography depends on a series of factors that are influenced by the daily life. It is important that one remains positive, willing to adjust its behavior, the path of thoughts and always improve the quality and consistency of life.
What should I change, improve or simply start doing for the new year ahead? Because this is a photography blog, I should only express the aspects related to photography. From here, we can easily extrapolate to the other fields of the daily life.
Fear less and build a stronger self-confidence
This is about fighting the fear of photographing people, especially in the streets. It is interesting to see that being scared of taking photos in front of people is not always at the same level. There are days when you follow the introvert path and try to minimize your emotional exposure in front of people and other days when you feel charged with positive and optimistic energy and you feel more courageous in front of strangers.
The less fear you have, the more confident you are. And self-confidence also comes from trusting your abilities, your results in photography. You have to learn to love your photography (you do it also, or only to please your spirit, isn’t it?), find your path, your originality, express your feelings and never forget to improve your style and techniques. I have learned a lot from Eric Kim, my mentor in this matter. Always learning, right?
Shoot more & post-process less
What does it mean? Well, the more you go out and photograph, the more experience you get (and more photos on your hard-drive). Processing less is part of my new minimal approach in photography. It forces me to get it right in the camera, to really take care of everything, exposure, composition, framing, without correcting every shot that has flaws, so I will have more time for shooting. At home, when post-processing, I like to keep it to a minimum, as fast as possible. I don’t like to alter the reality by adding, modifying, liquefying or deleting elements. A picture that is good, the way you wanted to be right in the camera, means more freedom.
Travel more, experience new things
This point strongly relates to the previous one. The best investment as a photographer is not necessarily in the latest photographic gear, but in new experiences. How can you get new experiences unless by travelling a lot, meeting new people, discovering new cultures, amazing places, enriching your mind and heart?
Read and learn more
Always learning. The path to success (no matter if it is a public success, or just a personal one) is paved with work, concentration, passion and the will to improve yourself and digest the lessons you have learned. There are great books about photography, just give it a try. Find one, or more mentors, great photographers that you love and follow their lead, see their effort, evolution and expression. Always learning!
Minimize the strain and pressure from the personal expectation in photography
I find that the more you struggle with high hopes and great expectations (in photography, but this also applies to so many other aspects of our lives) the more deceived you become. Great things happen to those who wait. Patience is the key notion in this equation. Beautiful and important things arrive in our lives at the “right” time. We may not know better, when it is the right time, but surely we can train ourselves to be patient and continue our work, with passion and dedication.
Try to photograph with a sense of freedom, without the pressure of time, without the fear of the harshest critiques, or thinking of the feedback you could get on social media networks, when posting your latest work. Do it for yourself, be as good as possible – the right time for you is a reality, but maybe not for today. Don’t let go of your dream and keep going!
Print, display and exhibit only the best
A chain is no stronger than its weakest link and your photography is after all a chain. Try to be the best you can, spend some time self evaluating your work. It is also a good think to send your work to some people you respect and have knowledge in the art field (painters, great photographers, poets, mentors, etc). They could give you reliable feedback, sometimes some good advice. The best way in photography, when dealing with your work assessment is to trust your best and most reliable critique you could get (but never 100%) and combine this with your desire to follow your style. After all, you don’t submit a math test for evaluation, it is your photographic work and nobody can “correct” your vision. Just don’t forget. If you feel your work is perfect and the received rational, impartial feedback also says it’s perfect… it can always be better. 🙂
The photographs that are printed and framed for personal use, for sale, as a gift, or intended to be displayed in a photo exhibition are the photographs that reached the highest state of evolution. The ultimate state of a photograph – being printed with care and exhibited. Do not limit yourself at showing your work only in digital form, on your website or social networks. Select only the best and print your work. You will experience a wonderful sense of fulfillment. It is simply beautiful.
And we do all of this in the name of beauty…
I wish you a great new year, full of inspiration and great experiences! May the Light be with you!
All photos and text – © Sebastian Boatca 2017 / www.sebastianboatca.com