They say that practice makes perfect, but actually, that’s a lie. Only perfect practice makes perfect. If you simply repeat the same thing over and over again, you will just end up with more of the same. And that’s how we get stuck in a rut with no ideas for escape or improvement.
Luckily (or not, depending on your stance), we now have the internet to fuel our creativity. In this video, Alister Benn from Expressive Photography gives us his top 5 ideas for moving your photography forward when you just don’t seem to be getting better.
Liberating yourself from external validation
In our pursuit of mastery, we often seek validation from others, craving the recognition and approval that boosts our self-esteem. While positive feedback is undoubtedly uplifting, it’s vital to remember that true growth and fulfilment come from within. Relying solely on external validation (social media, I’m looking at you!) can become an oppressive cycle, leading us away from our creativity. Try to create for yourself first. Embrace the joy of self-expression and create images that resonate with your soul, irrespective of external judgment.
Escaping the comparison trap
Art, by its very nature, is subjective. Just as musical preferences vary from person to person, so do interpretations of visual art. Constantly comparing your work to that of others can be discouraging and counterproductive. Remember that your photography is an extension of your unique perspective, and it holds value. Instead of chasing after a universal standard of “good,” focus on crafting images that evoke emotion and meaning for you. Celebrate your distinct style and embrace the diversity that photography offers.
Shifting motivations and finding purpose
Photography is a powerful force for self-expression, and the intentions behind your work shape it. Redirecting your focus toward personal growth and creative fulfilment can be transformative. Instead of seeking likes, start a journey to find purpose and meaning in your photography. Discover the stories you want to tell, the emotions you wish to evoke, and the impact you want your work to have on the world.
Cultivating happiness and authenticity
Happiness and authenticity are intertwined. Finding joy in the process, regardless of the final outcome, is crucial to achieving your artistic potential. If you’re fixated on ideal lighting conditions, for example, you risk missing the beauty right in front of you. Embrace spontaneity, adapt to changing circumstances, and allow your instincts to guide you. Authenticity thrives when you’re fully present, capturing each moment as it unfolds.
Avoid gear obsession
Ansel Adams noted that the most important element in a photograph resides in the space behind the camera. Techniques and equipment are valuable tools, but they should serve your vision rather than dictate it. Immersing yourself in the craft while nurturing your artistic spirit is the key to impactful photography. Continue to invest in developing your creative voice, honing your skills, and fostering a deep connection with the landscapes you capture.
In expressive photography, the path to mastery is an individual journey. Resist shortcuts and embark on a transformative expedition that values personal growth, authenticity, and creative fulfilment. Your unique perspective and a genuine passion for self-expression should guide your journey.
Remember that the most significant transformation occurs when you embrace your authentic self and align your photography with your inner vision. Improvement is never linear, it often happens in stages, and it’s very easy not to notice that you’re getting better until you look back and see how far you’ve come. I’d encourage you to watch the entire video to take your photography to the next level.