“Push your boundaries, that’s what they’re there for.” – Colleen Hoover
If you’re a photographer, you’re already in an oversaturated
trade. Lucky for you, many people don’t challenge themselves. Many people are satisfied with status quo. Many people refuse to adapt.
In the mid 1990s a revolution began to occur. The digital age opened up a world of opportunities for rising photographers who were looking to establish themselves in the modern age. It wasn’t the death of film, but the beginning of a new era. Many photographers who had been creating timeless works of art with film for decades found themselves surrounded by people who were doing what had taken them hours to accomplish in a dark room in mere seconds. The change was daunting, somehow wrong for many.
Many photographers chose this opportunity to fade into obscurity, refusing to continue in the face of so many new “citizen photographers” who had so little experience and so much technological power. There were others who ignored the movement. And there was still a third class who not only accepted the progression but embraced what it had to offer, combining their superior skills with the old way with the prowess of the new. They challenged themselves to adapt, and saw a great degree of success.
Although this is just one example, your ability to adapt and change and challenge yourself in the face of new obstacles is one of the keys to your long term success as a photographer. You mustn’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of repeating old habits, of recreating the same images, of adhering to the status quo. You must give yourself the freedom to experiment with light, to mix things up, to move so far away from the norm that you create a whole new experience for yourself and for your viewers.
Nothing of any greatness was ever achieved without trial and error. If you fail, so what, try again, fail again, but this time fail better. Each time you discover something that doesn’t work, you take one step closer to figuring out what does work.