Yes, you’ve read that right. Self-deprecation is my game. However, I’m writing this blog post for YOU. Yes, for you, the aspiring photographer, so you wouldn’t make the same mistakes as I am.
#1 I’m lazy
I don’t get up to catch the morning light. I neither go out at sunset. I use my tripod mostly as coat hanger. I barely take my DSLR with me, as it’s bulky and I’m afraid I’l scare people away.
I don’t read as often as I should. I don’t prepare.
My blog is maintained as often as I clean my room – once in a blue moon. My camera is dusty. Do you know what dust does to a DSLR? Me neither. But a dusty, unused camera shoots crappy photos. And crappy photos makes for a bad photographer, don’t it?
I’m so lazy that it takes me about two weeks to transfer photos from the camera’s memory card into Lightroom. I think it’s a fear of having to witness my crappy photos and knowing that I’ll have to try real hard to squeeze something decent out of them in post processing.
#2 I don’t know my gear
I own a DSLR camera, a fixed 35mm lens, a speedlight and a tripod. That’s it. Despite the small amount of gear I own, I still don’t know how to operate them head to bottom. The panning technique, night photography, rear curtain sync, photo-stacking, etc. These are all things that I should’ve know by now but I don’t. Don’t get me started with using the speedlight off-camera.
It’s like learning how to drive. If you don’t know what every knob and switch does, you can still operate the vehicle, but you won’t make the best of it and you’ll get stuck someday.
Oh, and about post processing in Lightroom and Photoshop – I’m light years away from a 15 year olds that makes a better living editing photos.
#3 I don’t experiment
Photography is about portraying the look and feel of a place or a particular subject. And doing that in new and interesting ways creates new and interesting photographs. Which I don’t do. In the article about my favorite photographers on Instagram, I showcased how most of them stood up from the crowd of creatives by pushing the boundaries and trying new techniques.
I think it boils down to the reason on number one, but it must be more than this. Must be something more ingrained in me, more primal, more powerful than simple apathy and inertia.
Which brings me to number 4:
#4 I’m afraid
Of losing. Of winning. Of getting out there and shooting people (with a camera, of course). I am really nervous when I shoot something for a client. I’m afraid of approaching strangers on the street and asking to shoot their portraits. Getting my work out there is a highly explosive mix of appreciation for my art and self-depreciation. I start a thousand projects in my head and none in real life. Whenever I get a call for a photoshoot, I get shivering chills on my back and I start to stutter. I sweat profoundly on location. I always feel this immense pressure when I try to take someone’s picture and I think I’ll fail to provide just one flattering image. So I stop myself from trying new things. It sucks. Why do you think this project was done during nighttime? (my hometown link)
5# I don’t take photography seriously
I never did take it seriously, although it has been an integral part of my life for quite some time now. There’s a huge discrepancy between me as a photographers and the real me. It’s like two people that will never meet. Like a Maasai in Tanzania and a bulgarian grandmother. They’re worlds apart.
I don’t even feel comfortable in saying that I’m a photographer. Must be the impostor syndrome or, most likely, my work is so bad that it barely qualifies me as a photographer.
I have friends that make a living out of it. Some live really well. Others are professionals with a really expensive hobby (gear acquisition syndrome). But all of them are proud of what they do. They worked hard for it, they should be.
All the photogs that I follow on Instagram feel so distant to me. They are like gods. Out of reach, with special powers and magical formulas. I’ll never be one of them so I don’t even try.
And then I roll into my hole again, and tuck the camera away and let it get dusty. And a dusty camera makes for crappy photos. And then I repeat all of the above, over and over again.
Don’t do the above.