People who excel do so because they try.
My students of photography are exceptional. They are dedicated to learning photography, clever, talented and they enjoy what they do. They don’t know how talented they are, they are not ready to move to the next level or to take charge of their photographic destiny. Most of them hold back.
Those students are you! Photography is a uniquely self driven pursuit. You don’t need to be “ready” – you need to have a go… Everyone can be exceptional if they try; most don’t.
Here are the principles to help motivate the next move. They will take your photography to the next level and get your pictures out there.
You can do some incredible things with photography. Imagine what you want to do. No matter how amazing it sounds, no matter what you want to achieve, or how out of your reach it seems – imagine yourself doing it. If you have that dream, that goal, that vision in your mind, you are on the road to success.
This is your dream. No one else’s. Only you want it. Make a deal with yourself to fulfil your own contract. You are going to reach that goal you envision. You will get help and work with other people, but that contract is your guide. Be your own leader, worker, supporter, friend, cheerleader troupe and advocate.
Your contract is your guide. Plan how to fulfil it. Make your path obvious, map it clearly. Don’t be afraid to risk changes – be flexible. Your development can teach you better ways. Work to move quickly to your goals. Use your dream. The paths you take should reflect the importance of your contract. Take one step at a time and move smoothly forward.
Do things that invigorate your soul. Get the adrenaline pumping. Do the risky things despite your misgivings. Publish a picture, dare to write to a celebrity for a photo-shoot. Challenge your limits. Take risks to push your photography beyond comfort. Make your heart pound. Don’t protect yourself or create limits. Take some risks, it opens doors. Try new things, it makes you take a new look at your photography. Start immediately, stretch your limits.
Doing new and exciting things will get you attention. Sometimes you will be the toast of the town. Sometimes you will feel you are drowning in the pool of criticism. Stand-outs, leaders and risk-takers all have enthusiastic followers. The down side is the critics cluster around too. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going! Being neutral will consign you to obscurity. Get used to being on the crests of waves and in the trough between them. They come together, but the benefits win out. Stay with it.
You don’t need to wait for validation, promotion or the big break. You are not going to be ‘discovered’. You are ready now. Moving on is liberating and simple. Take the next step on your own initiative. You know you can do it. So take the next move – dare to work to better your photography, dare to be bold. Don’t question yourself – you are ready.
If your vision is different, innovative – that is good. Dare to think different. Push your style to its limits. The unique, quirky and out of the box style gets attention. Don’t listen to the inner art critic. You can let your style out. You can realise your artistic and photographic talent. Be different. It will be your own personal validation. It is a licence to show people how you see. Seeing is what photography is about. Be quirky – show the world.
Ask for help. Ask for advice. Make your own decisions about moving forward. Assess advice yourself. Be confident in your assessment. Work to your agenda. Your development, your talent, your ideas are only going to be successful because of you. Other people have agendas of their own for helping and advising. While some things others say will be useful – some will not. Review your “contract” with yourself. Check that the advice of others fits with your inner direction. Test all advice you are given and follow only the advice that benefits your long haul goals.
Focus your attention. Do the unthinkable. Push the limits, take your photography to the edge – push your skills. Remember, learning and redefining your boundaries is hard. You will be challenged and you will find it tiring. Stretching yourself becomes a compulsion once you start. Make sure you have some “you” time. Take time for respite. Be rested – be more effective.
Share your knowledge, skills and talent. There is no greater self development than to share and teach. Be generous with your help of others. Give of yourself so that you can feel fulfilled as a person as well as an artist and photographer. If you are helping those who will be the future of photography you will also be the parent of a trend. Don’t hold back your talent. Let others benefit. A wave will carry you for free. Commanding the tide not to rise is futile and saps your strength. Share and you will reach your goals.
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