Hindsight is a wonderful thing, right?
Who wants to look back and wish they'd done things differently?
We probably all would and we'd love to not have any regrets.
However, life doesn't work that way - some of us learn best from others. Me, I learn best from my own mistakes. Not sure that's always served me well however, that's who I am. That's in my DNA.
1. BOUGHT ONLY SECOND HAND GEAR
Let's face it - it you're into photography you love the idea of having the latest and greatest gear. Gear envy is part-and-parcel with being a photographer. There's always something better than you strive to own one day.
Because there's such a high turnover of gear, it's rare that you wouldn't find something that you want on the second hand market. And in good nic too. You'll generally pay half the price of new gear which gives you more bang for you buck. I wish I'd done that!
2. SHOOT BETTER
This seems bloody obvious, but there's things I could have done to shoot better. Let me explain. I feel I have a natural eye for a photograph. It's a gift I was born with. I know when I see a good photo.
However, what I've always done is taken the photo when the conditions are not always ideal. I was probably hoping it would turn out alright anyway. Often when you take time out to photograph, you're doing it at the sacrifice of something else. Time with the family, work, etc. You feel compelled to take the photo anyway because you're there.
NOT FOR ME NO LONGER. I don't need to practice my photography as much as I used to, so I'm now holding myself to account and only shooting when I feel the conditions are perfect. I'm practicing shooting less (see the other blog post here). I'm purposely NOT wanting to shoot in order to ONLY shoot when it's awesome. That way I'm hoping my photographs will be awesome too.
Want to be a better photographer?
Raise your standards and only shoot when you say to yourself, "Wow that would make a nice photograph."
3. IT'S A LONG BUT SATISFYING ROAD AHEAD
I reckon if I knew how long this was going to take and how much money it would cost me, I'm not sure I would have taken this same path. Whilst photography is an ongoing challenge and always different (which keeps me engaged), you really need to have passion for the craft in order to be very good at it.
Maybe your desire isn't to be great at it. Maybe you just enjoy having the camera in your hand and taking some decent shots every now and again. That's fine. I'm hardwired to always be the best, so striving for that has been a long journey indeed. For example, it took me 32 years in photography (22 as a professional) to win a major overseas award.
It's a long road...
Cheers Tom Putt
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