Why wait on making photos?
You have a camera, yet you don’t take it with you everywhere you go. You don’t have the motivation/inspiration to take photos. You are patiently awaiting the day you can travel, and go on vacation before you feel inspired to make photos.
RIGHT NOW IS THE TIME TO SHOOT!
I got this idea from my best friend Horace, who said something like:
Don’t wait until the distant future to enjoy life. NOW IS THE TIME TO DRINK!
This is my rationale:
- Why delay your own happiness and joy? If making photos brings you joy– why wait? Why not shoot today?
- A lot of us don’t shoot on a daily basis, because everything we see is ‘boring’. But this is actually what I think — we don’t shoot “boring” stuff because we are concerned that if we upload that “boring” photo to social media, we will get no likes!
- I encourage instead — everyday take photos! Take photos today, tomorrow, and every day until you die! The simple thing is this: just keep your camera constantly strapped around your neck when you leave the house (wear your camera like a necklace, just how rappers wear gold chains) or wear your camera around your wrist (like a bracelet). My theory is the more we carry our camera with us on a daily basis, the more photos we will shoot! And the more photos we shoot, the happier we will be! #STRAPSBYKIM
Taking a shitty photo is better than taking no photo!
I came to the realization:
It is better to take a ‘bad’ photo than to take no photo!
Well — there is no such thing as a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ photo. There are photos which spark joy in our hearts and photos that bore us. But the biggest problem is this:
We self-censor ourselves too much before taking photos.
If you have your camera, and you see something that even interests you 1% — it is worth photographing!
This is why I am also a huge advocate of shooting with your phone. Yeah yeah, the image quality won’t be as good as your “real” camera, but taking a bad photo on a smartphone is better than taking no photo!
For me, making photos isn’t about making photos. Rather, it is about exercising our eye– exercising our visual muscles!
I remember my tennis coach Greg Lowe who taught me:
If you practice your tennis serve everyday, you will improve. However, if you miss even one day, you will spend the next day to get back to your base level.
Therefore, to improve your tennis serve (which is notoriously one of the most difficult things to master in tennis) — you must practice EVERY DAY!
I think the same is in photography — we must make photos everyday if we hope to strengthen and improve our visual muscles, and our photography!
The same with our muscles– if you want to become stronger or grow your muscles, you must exercise your muscles everyday! A lot of fitness ‘experts’ tell us that we shouldn’t “overtrain” the same muscle everyday. However I’ve discovered in real life when I started to workout everyday (no break days)– everyday chin-ups, and everyday dips, and everyday planches– I got WAYYYY STRONGER! And my muscles got a lot bigger too!
So some practical takeaways:
- Allow yourself to take shitty photos or bad photos. You must dig up a lot of earth before you find a little bit of gold. Or in the words of Henri Cartier-Bresson, “Sometimes you must milk the cow a lot to get a little bit of cheese.”
- If your camera is too big or bulky, buy a RICOH GR II. Or just shoot with your phone! Shooting ‘poor image quality’ photos is better than taking no photos!
- Recognize if you make 1 good photo a month, you’re doing really well! Don’t put the pressure on yourself to HAVE TO take a good photo everyday! Take it from me — this will cause you to feel depressed and demotivated.
A thought experiment:
What if one night in your sleep, the devil came to you and told you that you would die in your own city/country at the age of 90, but you would never have the opportunity to leave the country or your city. Could you still live a happy, fulfilling life as a photographer?
A lot of us live on false hopes that we will be happy/fulfilled once we can start traveling. It ain’t true. Even traveling can become boring and a chore — take it from me, I’ve been on the road for the last 10 years, and been to almost all the big and fancy cities in the world.
The true key to happiness as a photographer is this:
Make the best photos you can in your own city and lifestyle!
NOW IS THE TIME TO SHOOT!
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