5 things I learned about photography this week

Photography, like any creative and artistic pursuit, is like an onion. The more you learn and begin to understand, the more you realize just how much you don’t know.

It’s important to keep pushing ourselves as we strive to continually learn and grow in our craft. Not only learning the technical and “outside” information, such as history of photography or specific lighting concepts, but also continuing to learn more about OURSELVES.

“We’ll never know our full potential unless we push ourselves to find it.”

—Travis Rice

With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to share 5 things I learned about photography (and myself in the process) this week.

Everyone loves a good list, right?!

1. Autumn is a photographers dream, but there’s more than just pretty colors.

I grew up in nature, still spend every chance I can out in the woods. I’ve photographed the color explosion during my favorite season for more than a decade.

I love everything about Autumn. The difference in the light. The abundance of natural beauty. The smell in the air. All of it.

But this year, I’m feeling less than satisfied with just photographing the beautiful colors. I want more than just a pretty picture.

I want a story.

A little meat to go with the potatoes, if you will.

It can feel a bit panic inducing to realize that your very favorite photographic subjects suddenly isn’t actually as satisfying as it once was.

Take a deep breath, it will be ok. It just means you are growing, your artistic vision is changing. Don’t be afraid to explore the new direction and see where it leads.

2. Sometimes you won’t have all the answers

Look, I wish I could tell you that the longer you practice your art the easier it becomes to just KNOW what you are as an artist.

I’ve realized that in many ways I’m only now, more than a decade into practicing photography, starting to scratch the surface of who I am as a photographer.

Being October and having Halloween around the corner, it’s fitting that this realization is some scary sh*t!

In reality, it doesn’t have to feel so terrifying.

I learned this week to try to look at it from a different perspective.

How exciting is it to realize that all those feelings of being in a rut or not feeling like you are a good photographer are in the past. Your true self, the real journey of discovery lays open before you, should you choose to step into the unknown and explore.

3. Movies inspire my photography way more than I realized.

It’s no secret, I’ve talked many times here on the site about my shift into a more cinematic approach to my photography.

As far as I knew this shift began within the last year. Only as I have begun to continue to follow where my inner creative voice is leading have I realized that I’ve been very influenced by cinema and film for quite a while now.

I just hadn’t been paying attention. But the influence is there, even as I look back at work from the last couple years.

It’s terrific advice to not spend time looking to the past, since we aren’t heading in that direction. However, the value in doing a bit of self assessment in your growth is undeniable.

Certainly I don’t advise dwelling on your past work, but a look back can help you better understand where you’ve been and what you’ve learned as you step into the unknown ahead of you.

I have been pleasantly surprised to learn that this “New” shift in my photography has actually not been as abrupt as I originally thought. I’ve been slowly changing course for a while without realizing it.

4. Speaking of cinema, the Joker… Wow

I don’t care if you are a film maker, cinematographer, photographer, or simply a movie fan, the new Joker film is an absolute visual feast.

Yes, it’s brutally violent and raw at times. But my goodness is it a display of beautifully crafted cinematography.

Which brings up an interesting point to remember. Sometimes, even if you aren’t a fan of the artwork, the genre, the medium, it pays to explore different art forms outside of your wheelhouse.

You never know when you will find something to be truly inspirational or even simply enjoyable to the point where it makes you want to get back to your own craft and create.

Get outside your bubble now and then.

5. People are people and are capable of being terribly offensive from a place of complete ignorance.

Speaking from experience here, without getting into personal details the best thing you can do is shake it off and move on.

Most people don’t TRY to be offensive.

Because they are just uneducated about a subject or blissfully unaware, they tend to open their mouths and say some pretty hurtful things.

While infuriating, it’s typically best to just realize it for what it is and get on with your life.

There are so many better options to throw your energy into, don’t waste it on anger.

But if you happen to use it as fuel to create some excellent new photographic work, well, consider it a win!

Have you learned anything this week?

I’d love to hear from you! Let me know what you’ve learned as you look back at the last week or two.

It’s easy to think we aren’t learning anything, but if you look back at things you’ll realize that we are always learning something.

Maybe not always HUGE life lessons, but even the tiniest something is still learning something. We just have to be aware of it and keep on the lookout to notice the things we are learning.

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