Don’t Compromise in Your Photography

Downtown LA, 2012
Downtown LA, 2012

A lot of modern wisdom tells us that it is important to compromise— to make everyone happy.

But my personal philosophy is that with small trifling things, it is good to compromise. But for the great matters in life, you should never compromise.

Half a loaf of bread, or half a baby?

Hollywood, 2012
Hollywood, 2012

Before we talk about compromise, let us further define what a “compromise” is.

In the first situation, we can best define compromise as this:

“Half a loaf of bread is better than no bread at all”

But in the second situation, we can see why compromising can be a terrible idea:

”Half a baby is worse than no baby at all”

You can define these two different situations in life in different ways.

Of course we would prefer half a loaf of bread, rather than no bread at all. But under no circumstances would we want half a baby — it would be preferable not to have any of the baby at all.

Stay true to yourself

San Diego, 2014
San Diego, 2014

In your photography, you probably have a strong and singular vision. You know what you want out of your photography, and you know how you want to execute it.

However sometimes you might share your ideas and concepts with others— and others will always tell you what is wrong with your idea. They might give you suggestions and comments how you can better change your project.

I would say it is good to consider the opinions of others (when they are close to you). But if what they say doesn’t resonate to you — know that you have the option of not acting out their suggestions. You should be grateful for their suggestions and listen, but what decision you make in your photography is up to you.

Who do you seek to satisfy?

Hollywood, 2014
Hollywood, 2014

The more you compromise your photography and artistic vision, the more dissatisfied you will be with your own photography. Not only that, but the less your audience will like your work.

So the point of this letter is just to remind you once again — stay true to your own inner-voice, your own inner-vision, and don’t compromise your artistic beliefs.

If you have a full-time job (that is not photography), consider yourself blessed. You will never need to compromise in your photography.

However if you are a full-time photographer, you will have a more difficult situation: should you work to put bread on the table, or to achieve your artistic potential?

Ultimately the decision is yours.

But I say don’t compromise— you might suffer a bit in the short-term, but in the long-term you will achieve more creative genius, and gain more success (from others, and more importantly— from yourself).


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