Now that the New Year’s smell has washed off, let’s talk about growth. It’s easy to pick up counterproductive habits as a creative and it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been creating.
It’s easier for seasoned photographers to pick up bad habits than rookies, but no matter which category you fall in, bad habits are bad habits and if not properly managed, can distort your creativity.
Here are 14 steps to take in curbing those bad habits and let your photography flourish this year.
1. Be humble
The only thing separating you from the next person is the fact that you own a camera. Tomorrow, some young lad or lady could choose to pick up a camera and beat you at your own game.
That you’ve been in circles some may only dream of being in to photograph the biggest personalities doesn’t mean you’re the best. Opportunities found you and you took them.
These same opportunities could find another person, and they could handle them a lot better than you. So, be humble. Don’t fumble your bag and other opportunities.
2. Don’t reveal all your photos to the world
Many photographers already know this golden rule and live by it, but many only know it because their mentor in the game does it. But do you know why this is recommended for photographers? I’ll tell you why. You can take 100 photos of a subject. Each of them may be as awesome as all others, but upon scrutiny, a few may stand out just a little bit more.
To an untrained eye, all the photos are just awesome. To the skilled, the better ones are easier to pick out. This means that by showing just a few pictures from your latest shoot, you could win over the public a lot more, easily.
3. Experiment with other niches
It’s easier to get stuck in a creative loop where all your images look similar and not different from each other. The goal of creation is to leave a sort of brandmark on entirely different creations not to duplicate your creation. Even twins who look the same always have different quirks.
Photographers who focus on a particular niche are easily caught in this creative loop. The best solution? Try your hands at another niche! Have you been shooting portraits for a number of years? Add documentary photography to it as a break from your routine.
Have you been a sports photographer for a number of years? Take up film photography on the side. The tips and tricks you learn from other niches can help you make your main niche even better.
4. Shoot for fun
You don’t necessarily have to be booked for a gig to whip out your camera. If you have a party to attend, consider taking your camera along. If you’re in an environment that looks interesting, take a few shots with your camera.
You can even get your friends to come to your studio or wherever you feel comfortable and just take a few playful test shots. And once you’re done with these shots, make attempts to edit them and send them to the subject (if they’re human) for them to share with their circles. Also, put some up on your social media pages.
Not only do these kinds of fun shoots help to shake off the rust or loosen your stiff creative joints, but you will also learn from them.
5. Take risks
As you learn new things, you’re going to have a lot of ideas, many of which may seem absurd or over-the-top. Try them anyway.
“The violent taketh it by force” is one of the most popular phrases from the Christian Bible and it has transcended its religious undertones. Only those who dare to do things can be innovators so, just do it. Because when you discover something new and dope, na your pocket go dey smile.
6. Share your knowledge
A lot of creatives – people in general – are always reluctant to tell other creatives/people how they pulled something off. If you’re one of the photographers who do this, stop doing it now.
It’s harmful to your growth in so many ways. One of which is the fact that people will avoid you for collaborations and possible opportunities.
Don’t be afraid to share what you’ve learned. Teaching also helps the teacher understand more and see his knowledge in a new light, which opens other windows of research to improve his knowledge.
7. Don’t force your ways onto others
Everybody learns differently and at different paces. And it’s not everything that’s learned that we eventually get to put to use. This is why, when sharing your knowledge, you shouldn’t harp on your way being the only way. There is no right or proper way to do anything in photography. The only right way is the way that gets the job done.
Let your sharing sound like a piece of advice. Don’t impose. People will run away from you if you do and that affects growth.
8. Love the process, not the output
I’ve heard many photographers groan about the many steps to their finished work. It confuses me every time. Why are you a photographer if the process is not enjoyable to you?
A footballer likes football not just because he can win a match, awards, trophies, and get paid, but because of the joy of showing his skills on the field against other good players. It should be the same for a photographer. Start loving the process now, and the result will look even better to you.
9. Understand that your work is neither as good nor as bad as you think it is
Most of us don’t have a good grasp of how other people see our work. Some think they’re the second coming of Kelechi Amadi-Obi. Some even think they’re better than he is. On the other extreme, you have those who are very self-critical.
Your work isn’t as good or as bad as you think it is. Let the audience (which includes other photographers) be the judge of that. Even with this approach, it’s easy to begin to think your work is so good or that your work is so bad.
To overcome this, try to be analytical about your work and eliminate all judgment. And most importantly, focus on the process.
This was prepared after research and wasn’t prepared as an ultimate rulebook. Take the tips here seriously, but also do what works for you, because you’re you and nobody else can make you, you.
You can also share with us some tips to help overcome bad habits as a photographer on our Instagram and Twitter platforms. We’ll be glad to hear from you!