How to Be a Productive Photographer

Tokyo, 2016
Tokyo, 2016

How do you be a “productive” photographer — who is always inspired, always making photos, and outputting?

Caveats

First of all, there is too much “productivity porn” out there. We are always trying to do “more”. Earn more money, to answer more emails, and to get more followers.

But I feel there is a difference between being “productive” and “effective” — productive means to do a lot of things for the sake of doing things, whereas “effective” is knowing the few things to work on, which are truly important.

What is important?

How do we know what is important, and what isn’t important?

One idea: use procrastination to your benefit. We often procrastinate on what isn’t important to us.

You shouldn’t be forced to work on what is important to you.

For example, if playing with your kids is important, you will do so without someone forcing you to do so. If photography is important to you, you shouldn’t need to do things to “re-inspire” your photography — you do it because it is your passion.

What photos are important to you?

Which brings me to another idea — what kind of photos are important to you?

  • Is taking photos of strangers more important than taking photos of family?
  • Is taking photos of your food more important than photographing your own memories?
  • Is working on a “serious” photography project more important than taking snapshots of what you find interesting?

There are no absolute “good” or “bad” photos out there— only photos which are important and meaningful to you, and not.

“Productivity” tips

So assuming you want to be a more effective photographer— here are some “productivity” tips I would give you:

1. Don’t photograph what you don’t feel like photographing:

You shouldn’t need to force yourself to photograph what you are passionate about. If you have a grand idea for a photo project, and have kept putting it off, kill the idea. Follow your gut, and only photograph what you want to photograph.

2. Don’t feel you need to photograph everyday:

I used to think in order to be a “productive” photographer, you needed to photograph everyday. Now, I don’t believe that. I feel you should only photograph what is important and meaningful to you. That can happen once a day, once a week, once a month, or once a year.

3. Focus on one project:

As long as you die having done one meaningful photo project, you’ve done your job as a photographer. So the secret is to be productive photographing that 1 project which is truly meaningful to you — and not getting distracted by other projects.

4. Subtract distractions:

Nobody knows how to be more “productive” — yet we all know what our distractions are. My suggestion: block all distracting photo websites. Block gear review sites, gear review forums, or any sort of camera rumor sites. Block photo blogs which are distracting and not uplifting you. The fewer distractions you have online, the more you can focus on your photography.

5. Subtract gear:

I also find that a lot of my distractions in photography is worrying about my gear. Feeling my gear isn’t good enough. Rather— think the opposite; the fewer cameras and lenses you have, the less you will be distracted. And the less you worry about gear, the more you can focus on your photography.

Conclusion

So there you have it friend— some recommendations on how to be more productive with your photography. To essentially kill any sort of distractions, to work on fewer photo projects, and to only shoot what is personal and meaningful to you.

Stay productive with what is important to you.

Always,
Eric

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