Although every day is different, most days are a continuation of the day before. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a foundation on which to build new experiences, consider changes, and gain new knowledge about the previous day’s lessons.
For a photographer, especially one that shoots as many features as I do, it is an opportunity to explore. The exploration can be as narrow as choosing to use a longer telephoto or as expansive as buying new gear to add to the physical tool arsenal.
The more difficult choice is to make minor changes. To choose to explore the possibilities of what you have already mastered. Reconsidering the truths you have learned can strengthen your photographs or make you consider the possibility that all you have learned is rules set and described by others. Rules that have no reality in your work or inhibit you from discovering new branches of your talent.
Sometimes the experience of forcing yourself to move beyond exhaustion may help you discover creative tools and ideas that make your photographs better. The exhaustion may be physical. It may be emotional or creative where ideas get blanketed with fatigue that smothers any attempt to move beyond what you’ve already accomplished.
Marketers have done a great job of selling photographers on the idea that the best way to express creativity is to buy new equipment such as faster lenses, higher megapixel cameras, remotely controlled strobes, and gear that is specific to a photography technique they may never encounter.
What’s more important for a good photographer is to admit that your talents may never be as good as what is promised by all the ads, how-to videos, step-by-step instructions, or latest ebooks.
It’s more important, if you want to become a better photographer, is to look again at the work you’ve done with the gear you have and ask yourself if you are satisfied with the result. If you are like me you will discover that nothing, not even the best work you think you have done, is perfection.
The most difficult part of answering that discovery is knowing that it isn’t the equipment. It isn’t the latest camera or lens, or software, that will make your photography better. It’s questioning your results and asking if your creative process is vibrant. Is it challenging? Does it force you to study your subject beyond the obvious? Does it compel you to question the desire to be a photographer?
Are you creative or do you think you need something more than desire?