The secret to becoming a master photographer: the Kaizen (Japanese process of gradual self-improvement):
In photography and life– we need to grow gradually.
If you are great redwood tree, you start out from a tiny sapling. And over time, you gather nutrition, oxygen, water, and slowly sprout up. You start to grow gradually. You keep reaching your branches higher and higher into the air, and you dig your roots deeper into the earth.
You don’t grow to be a thousand feet overnight.
The same thing is if you want to master your photography — you cannot become a master over night. You must constantly refine your craft. You must constantly adjust your shooting style — to seek to make your pictures more simple, yet dynamic.
Consider, if you grow 1% every day, you will grow by a factor of 3,800% at the end of 365 days (compounded interest).
I’ve been considering this in my life:
- What if I could grow 1% stronger everyday (do 1% more pushups/chinups everyday)
- What if I could grow my audience/following by 1% everyday?
- What if I could improve my visual acuity and artistry by 1% everyday?
I like 1% — because it seems manageable. Everyone can strive for 1% daily growth.
Do your best, every day.
I once read something like:
To live a perfect life, strive to make everyday a perfect pearl.
To make a good portfolio in your photos, make each photograph a perfect pearl.
That means, become a great photographer slowly — 1 picture, by 1 picture.
I personally strive to make individual great pictures that can stand on their own two legs. And whenever I make a great photograph, I gain confidence in myself. Then I take a second great photo. Then a third great photograph. Therefore, this little gradual feedback helps me stay motivated.
To make small, gradual, incremental, but forward 1% progress in your photography, try out these assignments:
1. Study a new master of photography every day
Simple suggestion: Try to learn 1 new thing everyday, from a master photographer — and try to apply that 1 technique to your photography.
- Robert Capa: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”
- Henri Cartier-Bresson: Don’t crop.
- Constantine Manos: “Don’t get suckered by the exotic.”
2. Learn how to draw
Cindy, Annette, Jennifer, and I made the book: “CREATIVE EVERY DAY” to teach you how to draw.
Another idea: use your iPad, to trace your pictures– and deconstruct your compositions, and figure out why they work.
Unleash your creative potential with CREATIVE EVERY DAY: Mobile Edition.
You don’t need to draw professionally. You can just make sketches on a piece of printer paper, on your phone, on your laptop (with Photoshop or Illustrator), or you can do it on your iPad (like I do with the ProCreate app).
For inspiration, study:
Above all, just let yourself have fun — don’t treat your drawing as serious. Treat it like fun!
https://erickimphotography.com/blog/personal-photography/ / photographic memento mori— photograph your loved ones like they’re not gonna be around forever.
Start your own Cindy Project — photograph your own loved ones (your partner, kids, parents) like you’re not gonna see them tomorrow:
To be honest, to practice being a better photographer, gradually, day-by-day — just photograph those who are accessible to you. That means, photograph those individuals you interact with on a daily basis.
If you have nobody to photograph, take self-portraits of yourself:
PHOTO JOURNAL: Discover your personal meaning in photography.
Treat your photography like a ZEN meditation — use your photography as a chance to appreciate the small things in everyday life.
Seek small, gradual, 1% growth everyday.
How great will you be by the end of the year, after 365 days?
BE CREATIVE EVERY DAY,
Push yourself outside out your comfort zone with STREET NOTES: Mobile Edition.
HAPTIC INDUSTRIES: Creative Tools to Empower You.
The story of HAPTIC
Just shoot it:
- It is Your Duty to Make Beautiful Pictures!
- Making Pictures IS Happiness!
- NO EXCUSES.
- The Pomodoro Photography Technique
- The ABC of Photography
- Just Shoot It.
- How to Change the World With Photography
- How to Find Inspiration in Photography and Life
- How to Overcome Resistance
- Create Against the Past
- How I Motivate Myself to Make Photos
- Wear Your Camera Like a Necklace or Bracelet
- Have Your Photos Come to You
- How to Level Up in Your Photography
- How Not to Give a Fuck of What Others Think of You
- How to Overcome Procrastination in Your Photography
- How to Reinspire Your Photography
- What is Your Mission in Photography and Life?
- How to Overcome Photographer’s Block
- Be a Photographer Now
- How to Overcome Boredom with Photography
- Never Stop Growing as a Photographer
- Why Do You Need “Inspiration” to Shoot?
- Just Shoot.
- 5 Things to Do If You’ve Lost Your Passion for Photography
- How to Have Unshakeable Confidence in Yourself
- Don’t Give Up On Your Dream
- Don’t Waste Your Potential
- Unlock Your Potential
- Empower Others With Your Photography
- Why You Shouldn’t Follow Your Passion in Photography