What if that feeling never goes away | Photography isn't always cupcakes and unicorns | Photo Proventure

What if that feeling never goes away?

I don’t know about you, but my photography journey is far from being all cupcakes and unicorns.

Starting out

Having shown no interest in photography until I was 23 and having my highest level of artistic training in grade 8 art class, I was a terrible photographer when I first started. Luckily I picked up photography when digital was just starting to go mainstream.

If I had lived in the film era, I honestly think I would have quit. I can imagine how crushed I would have been if I had seen those same first pictures after buying a roll of film, developing it into a print and then trying to figure out what went wrong. The instant feedback of the LCD screen allowed me to fix a lot of issues in the field. Easy right?

But then I would get home and look at the images on the big screen. Disappointment ensued.

Photos were out of focus.

My horizons were wayyyy off.

I didn’t use the light in the best way.

I’d crop body parts off along the edge of the frame.

The images had no emotion to them. No feeling.

Did I have what it takes to be a “real” photographer?

That feeling

I don’t know if you can relate, but that feeling I got was a combination of:

  • Am I good enough?
  • My photography is not where I want it to be.
  • Should I keep at this?
Have you ever felt anything similar?

Does it go away?

Unfortunately no. I still get that feeling.

I’ll come back from a shoot and see the following:

Photographs that are out of focus.

A few horizons that are wayyyy off.

The light isn’t quite right in some images.

Body parts cropped awkwardly in the frame in a few cases.

Some images have no emotion to them. No feeling.

Of course the rate of each of these issues has decreased as my technique and artistic eye have improved. But they’re still in there.

Even though my photographic journey has taken me from beginner all the way to full-time photographer I still look at my work very critically. My photographic craft is not where I want it to be. I look at my images and see the things I would do differently next time in order to get closer to the results I want.

Keep the benefits, discard the rest

I don’t enjoy that feeling at all.

The questions then becomes, how can I use that feeling for my benefit?

What I’ve learned is that my unhappiness with my work is a huge part of what drives me to become a better photographer. It’s what has got me to where I am today.

If I was happy with the quality of my work, where’s the incentive to improve?

So I use that feeling to drive me to learn and practice more. I push myself into situations that are uncomfortable and difficult so that my problem solving skills and artistic eye develop further.

The key things to remember is that you’re judging your photographic work and not yourself as a person. Keep those separate. Don’t make your disappointment mean that you’re not good enough as a person.

Keep the drive, but lose the judgement.

MK

Do you get that feeling? How do you handle it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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What if that feeling never goes away?Matt Korinek
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6 comments on "What if that feeling never goes away?"

  1. I really enjoyed this Matt. I have this feeling after nearly every shoot and I always think I should just quit as I ain’t no good. Makes me feel better to know that it’s normal and to push through.

    • Glad you got something out of it. Too often people show only the positive side of things and I wanted to share that I struggle just like anyone else. Hopefully that helps people!

  2. Hi Matt! I came over after reading Rachel’s mail. I am going to share this with my other food photographer group. I really feel like an amateur 98% of the time. I study and study and practice and practice and I still get the dud for shots so I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one. And you’re right — if we were perfect then there would be no incentive to learn and be better. Great post!

    • Hi Marisa! Thanks for swinging by and for sharing it. I think part of it must be that people who are looking to improve their photography seek out opportunities that are new and make them uncomfortable. I know I do that. So in a way I am an amateur, trying something I haven’t tried before! Nobody is perfect. 🙂

  3. Just loved this, Matt. I think ‘that feeling’ is a permanent one in people who are hungry for learning, developing and change. We can be so hard on ourselves, but it is so important to use that in a positive way. To grow and continue evolving. Creativity is never a competition. I am constantly blown away by what you are up to today, but still the genuine Matt Korinek that I remember comes through in all that you do. Keep on keeping on – it’s inspiring 🙂

    • Totally Jodi, I agree completely. And thank you for the kind words. For me, I don’t fight the feeling anymore but examine the story that’s creating it and change it to something that steers me in a more positive direction. I love that you’ve been following your passions as well and it’s been great to watch your development. Thanks again for sharing your perspective!

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