Not where I wanted to be, but I’m working on it

Not where I wanted to be, but I’m working on it

It’s been a long year. From December holidays I had a plan that this was the year to improve my photography and start my business. I was going to shoot every day, and process every day. That hasn’t happened. Life, you know? It just gets in the way sometimes doesn’t it? Working, partnering, parenting and just general day to day living can really take you away from your dreams.

But you just need to remember that getting to where you want to go takes work. There’s a few quotes that keep popping up that embody the best way to approach reaching your goals …

“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort.” Liz Gilbert. Liz Gilbert is one of my favourite creative inspirations. I’ve never read Eat, Pray, Love but I have read Big Magic and heard her speak on a number of podcasts.

Ultimately creativity and making great things comes down to two things: having an open heart and grabbing on and curiously exploring the small threads that interest you; and working your arse off. 

And then this one by Ira Glass for the creatives. If you’re just starting out in any creative field, the message sucks, but Ira implores you to keep at it.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit.

Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.

Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

My photography, this year isn’t going as planned. Over the Christmas break we took a few weeks away from work so I had the opportunity and energy to shoot every day. I had the best time doing it. But once the break was over it was back to being a mum, a business owner and worker and we’ve had our busiest 6 months to date. And in addition to that, I’ve been battling an illness that has left me quite exhausted most days. It’s been a real struggle to keep working on my photography.

Lately I’ve realised that I’m blocked. Blocked in that when I want to learn something, I sit and persevere and practice – by myself, without bothering anyone else. Photographing people doesn’t allow for that. To improve my people photography, I need to engage with people. And that’s the hard part. I have a couple of blocks

  1. Asking is hard
  2. I don’t want to look like I don’t know what I’m doing
  3. I don’t want to look like I’m bad at what I do
  4. I don’t want to be a bother.

And these blocks lead me to having a lower technical ability than I would like, because I just don’t even ask. I’ve put into place a few things that are slowly helping the situation.

  1. I meditate and journal daily – raising my self awareness and thinking through the areas I’d like to improve and
  2. I visualise at the start of my day and before important tasks
  3. I set an intention for the day to over come problem areas

However, I’ve not put much of this effort in to improving my photography. Instead, I’ve been focusing on other areas of my life, like my personal relationship, the business that’s our main income and being a mother. Now that I’m feeling comfortable with these areas, I want to make the time to focus my energy on photography.

Improving photography

I’ve been watching some online classes lately on Lynda.com (free through our local library and awesome!). I’ve been listening to podcasts (this is my favourite – link to Gina podcast). I’ve joined a couple of online training communities – Gina Milicia an Australian celebrity photographer and Sue Bryce’s education site.

I’ve learned a lot already in both and haven’t had the time I’ve wanted to spend on their sites. But slowly does it. These people blocks I have, are stopping me from shooting much at all. It may sound like a cop out, but I’m working through it.

Some new gear

I know gear doesn’t make the photographer, but it sure is fun to play with. I’ve added a few new piece to my kit: a Canon 5d mark iii, a f1.4 50 mm lens, a Benro video tripod, and I’ve got some new flashes, triggers, gels and white balance cards on the way.

What I’ve been shooting this week.

A caravan that I like the look of.

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The beach.

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The oak forest in Harcourt.

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Miss 2 in her Talking Red cape playing in the oak forest.

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