Photography is something all of us here love, and it brings us together here on DIYP. While it’s an amazing hobby or a career, it still still comes with its challenges. They sometimes make our lives difficult or go as far as making us question ourselves and our photography skills.
But you’re not alone. In this video, Mads Peter Iversen shares seven of the biggest struggles a photographer can deal with. He spoke with other creatives like you and me about them, and these are some of the responses he got. And in case you can relate – he also gives you plenty of great advice for overcoming these obstacles and enjoying photography to the max.
1. Struggling with shooting locally
This is also one of my biggest struggles right now. I’ve lived in Novi Sad for far too long and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find interesting places to shoot anymore. And of course, traveling requires lots of planning, effort, and cash – and you may not always have all of those.
However, this doesn’t mean that you still can’t take great photos. Mads suggests that you go out and explore. Use Google Maps and search for places where other people pinned photos. This way, you can see your local area through a visitor’s eyes and perhaps discover new beauty in the familiar objects. Go to nearby forests and parks and wander around, If it’s safe to get off the trail and explore further – do that as well. And if you have a favorite location in your hometown, visit it at different seasons, times of day, and weather conditions. This way, the same old place will give you something new to shoot every time.
2. Struggling with composition
Composition is one of the things many photographers also struggle with. This is especially the case when shooting landscapes and cityscapes and using wider lenses, at least from my experience. It can be difficult to find a clear focus in your shot and it’s really easy to end up with too much going on.
To overcome this, Mads suggests that you try to find some kind of subject to build your photo around it. You can use various composition techniques like leading lines and framing to make your subject stand out – but it’s all about drawing attention to your subject.
It could help to remember that photography, unlike painting, is a subtractive art form. In other words: find your scene, see what doesn’t add to the photo, and subtract it.
3. Being stressed in the field
When something happens in front of us and we need to think and react quickly, it can make us stressed. This is especially the case if we’re still not familiar with photography basics or we don’t know our gear too well.
To overcome this, Mads suggests that you learn the basics first and then go out and practice. Make sure to practice deliberately and with intention so you get the hands-on experience with different techniques and with your gear. It’s also important to figure out what gear suits your needs, as there’s no universal recipe that covers each of us.
4. Hard to get up early in the morning
Ah, this is me. No matter how much I love taking photos, traveling, or both – I feel like crying every time the alarm clock wakes me up before at least 8 am. According to photographers Mads spoke to, many of them struggle with getting up early as well. You may not find it important if you shoot in a studio, but if you prefer landscapes, cityscapes, street, and travel photography… Well, morning can be your best friend.
Thankfully, there’s an easy fix for this: pull an all-nighter! It could be easier to not go to bed at all, wait for the dawn to take photos and then go to sleep once the sun is fully up and you’re done shooting. I especially love staying up all night in the summer when only the nights are bearable. So, if you’re like me: maybe this is a better solution if you want to take some photos at dawn.
5. Comparing your work to others
Comparing your work to someone else’s can be good for you if you do it right. Sadly, most of us tend to be overly self-critical, driving ourselves into a severe imposter syndrome and never feeling happy with our work.
Let me tell you something: the only person you need to compare your work to is you from the past. If your old work makes you cringe and think “gosh, I’m so much better now,” good! This means that you’re on the right track. If you really need to compare yourself to others, do it in a way that you learn from those better than you. And then, use that knowledge to become better in the future rather than bash yourself for not being that good now. Finally, don’t forget: everyone was once a beginner.
6. Struggling with wide-angle foregrounds
Landscape photographers are often advised to have a foreground interest in their photos when shooting with wide angle lenses. According to responses from Mads’s followers, this is something they often struggle to achieve.
It’s good to know that not every landscape photo needs a foreground interest. In fact, not even all landscape photos need a wide-angle lens. Sometimes you can use lenses like 50mm or even telephoto lenses to take amazing landscape shots.
7. Struggling with showing the majesty of nature
The last struggle many photographers mentioned is the difficulty to show the majestic beauty of nature. This is another obstacle I occasionally find relatable, and it’s not always about the nature. I felt it the most when I was in Corfu, Greece: I was enchanted by the town, but I couldn’t seem to transfer its beauty into my images.
When you’re in the environment you’re impressed with, shooting with a wide angle lens can seem as the most logical choice. However, Mads suggests that it’s not always the best option when you’re trying to show the majesty of nature. Your images may be too crammed, or your background can appear too small and way less impressive than you see it in person. So, here’s another reason to consider zooming in a bit or using a telephoto lens.
Have you experienced any of these struggles as well? How do you deal with them? Feel free to share your own struggles in the comments, but also tips on overcoming them.
[7 Photography STRUGGLES and how to solve them! | Mads Peter Iversen]