I have likely made a fantastic many errors over the course of my photography career, but one might well still be affecting me today. The concern is, are you making it, and if you are, should you do anything to alter?
There are photographers out there that pick a genre and then not do anything else for the rest of their lives. I appreciate these people, and I believe they have the highest likelihood of becoming really terrific at whichever genre they ended up being a devoted disciple of, but I am not one of them. I began my journey with a camera off the back of a burning curiosity for macro photography, but it didn’t take long before I wished to attempt every category of photography I might find. In truth, in the very first two years of owning a camera, I tried macro, wildlife, landscape, astro, portraiture, fashion, animals, products, sport, and I suspect numerous others I can’t remember.
In the really first stages of a photographer’s profession (by which I mean taking photos as opposed to photography as a job), exploring as much as possible is important. As holds true with numerous things, the view from outside a craft or pastime is usually a decent quantity different from the experience within. That is, you may believe you adore portraiture and they are the type of photos you want to produce, however then when you’re in person with a subject and directing them, maybe a few of the magic is dispelled. For that reason, to people who have actually just bought their first video camera and message me for guidance, I will constantly prescribe trying anything and everything; from various categories to techniques.
However, when a beginner has got a lay of the land and a sense of what they do and do not delight in, what is the next action? For the maximum ability gains and pleasure as a photographer, how should one continue? This is where I think I slipped up. I continued to try out every category as often as possible, and in all honesty, I still dabble with a broad series of shots; I delight in photography and don’t want to be limited. However, as somebody who wished to end up being a great professional photographer (a pursuit I have not ended up and most likely never will), I needed more direction. To improve the quickest, I needed to practice a couple of categories of photography persistently, as opposed to shooting anything and whatever.
There have been a couple of times in my profession where I have actually ended up being really concentrated on one category and the outcomes was necessary. The very first circumstances was with portraiture, the second was macro, and the 3rd (which is connected closely with both of the others) was with the specific niche of watch photography. Not long into my time as a professional photographer I discovered the images I wished to take a look at– and would spend hours looking at every single day– were portraits. They weren’t my initial intention in photography, however they quickly ended up being an obsession, and I don’t utilize that word lightly. For many years I chose a “picture of the day” and released it– every day. There are around 1,000 on the Pinterest board which you can find here. I really could not get enough of looking at portraiture and I was taking as numerous portraits as I could too.
The second was less of a fascination and more of a constant desire. I loved wandering around nature taking images of bugs and I would do it most days for a minimum of the first couple of years as a professional photographer, regardless of living in a nation where interesting subjects are rare! I have a hard disk filled with images of bees, hoverflies, wasps, ladybirds, and the periodic run-of-the-mill British spider. I did, however, purchase a Huge Asian Praying Mantis as you can see above and he was with me for almost 2 years!
The third was watch photography which combined macro and a brand name of portraiture. It was born of a long-lasting love for watches and wanting to record them in ways that revealed what I loved about horology; the craftsmanship, the materials, the intricacies, and so on. However, why does this matter? Well, I never enhanced more, reached a higher requirement of shot, and accomplished more consistency than when I was in these states of tunnel vision. Direction and focus increased gains exponentially, and I should have recognized and harnessed that knowledge.
To master a genre, a photographer needs to regularly pursue it, looking for to improve at every action. While I was keen to enhance, the varied range of shots I wished to take detracted from the supreme goal of becoming fantastic at a genre. Recalling at my goals when I initially began, this was an error. I might have still dabbled, but I needed to have more discipline and spent the vast majority of my time on one genre (or at a push, two.) However, recalling over the last decade of photography, would I change anything?
I have actually put a lot of believed into this question– most likely excessive– and I’m uncertain I would. I believe that more instructions and discipline in a specific category would have rendered me a much better professional photographer of whatever category that was, however at what cost? My love for photography is tied up in the variety of the craft and in that, I seldom get tired of it. There is also no warranty that I would have been much more detailed to greatness, or that the areas I improved in would have yielded rewarding results; more cash, more success, and so on. Nevertheless, it’s a path not taken, and it’s one I can’t help but question.
Have you narrowed your craft to one category? Did it settle for you? Or, do you regret not being more disciplined in your instructions? Share your experiences in the remark area listed below.
Lead image by Luis Quintero by means of Pexels