One of the most elusive things in photography is staying motivated to make new photos. The more I think about it, the more this rings true — the goal isn’t to make perfect photos, but to constantly iterate (kaizen approach to photography — daily 1% gains over massive new changes and innovations). This constant iterative gradual self improvement makes more sense.
You are the creator:
For example, you cannot go from deadlifting 135 pounds to 475 pounds overnight. However as long as you increase your one rep max by just 5 pounds every week, with enough time and consistency and effort, you will easily achieve it.
So with photography, the goal then is this:
Constantly improve in your photography, constantly make new photos, and to delight and thrive in the process of photography.
Simple tips and ideas for you:
- Don’t get too enamored by your best photos: The death of new motivation to make new photos is comparing your present photos to your past photos. But why do this? You were a different photographer in the past. You’re a different person today than yesterday, and you will be a different person tomorrow. Thus don’t measure your progress, just keep shooting and moving forward.
- Delete Instagram and start blogging your own photos instead: Instagram as the worst motivator — you become a slave to the ‘social media treadmill’ instead of just enjoying the process for yourself. I’ve gained 100x more motivation in photography AFTER deleting my Instagram than when I had it. And to blog your own photos — you can disable comments, stats and other silly ways to metricate yourself in photography. To ‘demetricate’ your photography is the goal.
- Delete your past: We can often become prisoners to the past. In some ways, to mentally delete the past gives new empty roads and paths to new creations. Remember the saying (for writers): There is nothing more beautiful than an empty page.
- Format your SD cards after you process your photos: For me, there is nothing more beautiful than an empty SD card. This allows you to fill the vacuum of the empty SD with new images. Remember the Latin saying: “horror vaccui” (horror vacuum, or that vacuums hate being vacuums, and will naturally fill themselves).
- New life experiences: The more interesting life experiences you accumulate, do, experience, and dare, the more motivated you will be to make new photos.
- Give and receive honest feedback and critique on your photos: Upload your photos to arsbeta.com and give and get constructive critique on your work. By giving constructive critique, you can more accurately understand your own work and photography as a whole.
- Buy books, not gear. Why buy books not gear? The goal is to inspire yourself to make photos, the point isn’t to own the best camera gear for the sake of it. For free books and recommendations, check out my list of books.
- Take your artwork and photography seriously: Why is it that we must take our work, financial matters so seriously, but we don’t give any attention to our artwork and photography? To me, the purpose of life is to maximize your artistic impact!
- Make a name for yourself: Strive to maximize your impact and reach. Making a name for yourself is to not hide your face; use your name (first and last name) proudly, to share your own opinion without watering yourself down, being insanely stubborn and hold true to your artistic vision.
- Photographic memento Mori and photographic memento vivere: You will die, but you will also live. Let your photography be a testament to life.
HAPTIC INDUSTRIES: Creative tools to motivate you:
- MUSE by KIM
- HENRI NECK STRAP MARK III (Phantom Black)
- HENRI WRIST STRAP (Crema Brown)
- FILM NOTES
- PHANTOM BLACK (Henri Wrist Strap)
- Street Photography Starter Kit
- “Life is short, art is long.” – Seneca
- “You don’t take a photo, you make it.” – Ansel Adams
- “All is flux.” – Heraclitus