As photographers we are all having to provide our own critique to improve we are our own teachers and in doing that we sometimes find it hard to switch to looking at our work positively again.
We often work on our own with only loved ones to ask if a finished piece looks good (and of course they love us and do not see the details or vision we are trying to achieve) or of course there is facebook which seems like a quick answer, but should we be relying on this to judge our self?
So here’s how we are going to get through this together:
This is very important! When you achieve something, big or small, if it is an achievement then reward yourself, STOP and have your favourite cup of tea, take the dogs out or shout YES.
CELEBRATE this. YOU did this!
Have a yearly plan, now break this down into small manageable bits and then plan this bit and do it, keep your yearly plan in a folder called ‘yearly plan’, at the end of the year mark off what you have achieved and learn from how much you can achieve ready for next year’s yearly plan. When you have completed each task and at the end of the year CELEBRATE this! YOU did this.
3. Look back:
Do not just look to where you want to be, keep work as you go through the years and look back a year and two years! You have improved, you will keep improving. CELEBRATE this. YOU did this.
4. Except you will fail:
We are not perfect, no-one is, we ALL fail, this is a GOOD thing, it’s how we learn to improve, take joy in finding our what you did that made you fail, because now you know how you are going to improve next time. CELEBRATE this as well!
5. Get out:
Do something that makes you happy, NO not photography!
Take a day off, go to a film, see a friend, walk the dog, join a once a week yoga class.
Do something positive, something that makes you relax, take time for yourself, laugh.
Life does not end with photography, it is a fantastic part of who you are, not all you are.
6. Positive thinking:
I am a strong believer in positive thinking, we need to take joy in looking forward to when we can achieve what we want, do not let frustration take over, everyone has to learn, it takes time, we need to slow down and enjoy the journey.
Try using your photography to help others in some way, find a good cause that is close to your heart and ask how you can help them, this is a hugely positive and rewarding thing to do and will help you feel good about yourself and your photography.
7. Learn to take critique:
Ok so I do not think it is a positive thing to put yourself out there daily for critique, but you do need to learn to handle it. Find someone positive who is honest and knows about the type of photography you do and talk to them about your work privately. When posting on groups on social media, choose your group wisely, ask people who shoot similar things to you, learn to read between the lines, there is a difference between opinion eg. choice in styling and critique about correctly lighting, we also have to remember apart from the obvious key board warrior that just work up the wrong side of the bed and needs to be mean today, there are also those who have an alternative motive as to why they either not comment or their comment will be not as nice as it can be, we have to remember they also are running a business, they could feel threatened by you, ever thought of that?
We are producing art, remember it is subjective.
8. Get off the LIKE train:
It has taken me a long time to realise, we need to know our audience, if most of them are local then why do you want someone in America to like your post?
The more likes you get the more people like you right? This is correct and they are not your client, unless you are self-funded and not doing this for money then you need local clients to see your posts not the masses!
Just because people do not ‘like’ your posts does not mean they do not see/ like them!
9. YES CELEBRATE!
This is one of the most important things I am going to say to you, it is very hard to do this, but it gets easier as you go.
So you child wins a competition what do you do? I tell everyone, I say 100 times how proud I am, I phone nan, we celebrate with a champion meal and so on, why do I do this? Because my child achieved something, they worked for it and made it happen, it makes them feel good and know they did well.
It is too easy to get on a train of achieving and moving onto the next thing and going faster and faster as we get excited and see improvements, but this will exhausts us and suck the happy out of what we love, we have to take time to praise ourselves, yes on social media, but not just on social media, talk to your mum, your everyone, tell them how happy you are, say it out loud to someone, I did this !
Learn to take complements, even if from your nan who has no understanding for modern photography – She likes it …….. That’s fantastic – right there someone likes your art
Maybe we need to look after our inner child a bit more
This feeling of self-doubt pretty much goes for a lot of people not just photographers, we live in a world where we are comparing ourselves to everyone else’s perfect a 100 times a day, what you see on social media is often not the bad choices and mistakes photographers make, the times they spend a week setting up and planning a shoot only to fail and throw away the files.
I hope this helps, I know it has helped me to write this down, it is something that has been bugging me for a while!
“Do not judge yourself at the beginning of your journey by someone else’s ending.”
Useful support links:
Master of Photographers Association -