What do you do when one day you look at your stuff and think "great." and then the next, you think you're a complete hack and you should pack away your gear and save yourself the trouble? I guess in layman's terms, How do you get past any negativity you may have towards your own work and get back to making great images? This is of course assuming you have those days.
Hey! Welcome to every day of my life! Seriously! I’m not even joking.
I’ve had to just accept the fact that I’m my own worst critic. The best photographs I’ve ever taken are still in my head. I’ll do a shoot, love it for 48 to 72 hours then start to rip it apart. Sound familiar?
You’ll never be perfect. You’ll never have your dream portfolio. You’ll never get it 100% right. You’ll never be ready for the big leagues… IN YOUR OWN MIND.
I’ve shot jobs, delivered the images, and waited in fear for the response to the work because I was already ripping it apart in my mind and felt I failed. The client then tells me I’ve knocked it out of the park and they could not be happier with the work and they have two more jobs for me. Really? Ok. But see. I only knocked it just barely over the fence. I was aiming for the parking lot across the street from the stadium. Why can’t I just be happy that I hit a home run for the client?
Creating work brings the inner demons. It just does. That is if you are any good at all. Those who think their shit is awesome and totally love what they do and flaunt that stuff all the time are going to hit a big wall of complacency. They won’t grow. They won’t change. They won’t develop. They’ll stay right where they are and wonder why their work is so dated one day.
One thing I had to learn not to do was compare myself to others. That will kill you. Stop doing that. Don’t ever do it. It will never help you. Admire the work of others. Take delight when they find success because if they found it, then you can too.
Story :: Dave Jackson and I have talked about this a lot. We once went to NYC at the same time to attend a portfolio review event. We both met with the same magazine editor. I really want to shoot for this magazine and I feel my work matches their style. I got on their radar. Dave met with them and was given solid feedback on his work but told he’d never be hired by them because his style doesn’t match their’s. One record label was really interested in his work and then didn’t give my book a second thought.
Dave and I have different styles. Each potential client out there has a different style. Don’t try to manipulate your style to match their’s. Find the clients that already like what you already like.
So you see. If you are one style comparing yourself to the clients/lifestyle/work of another photographer with a different style than you, you’ll just dig your own grave. If they have a similar style and have found success you need to be really happy about that. That means there is hope for your work.
You suck. You know it. We know it. Get over it. We all suck. Some suck less than others and all that but you will never ever ever find success and fulfillment if you sit at home and have a pity party every day.
I’ll tell you what I tell to myself ….
Get the f*ck over it and go shoot. Get over yourself. Quit bitching and moaning and complaining like an 8 year old. Grow a pair and go do what you love to do. You’re further ahead than where you started.
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