CAN HEALTHY HABITS INCREASE SUCCESS FOR A PHOTOGRAPHER?
"Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts."
-- Winston S. Churchill
What defines success for photographers and how do you get there? This is a question uttered by many photographers. It doesn’t seem to matter if you are a landscape photographer, wedding photographer, travel photographer or portrait photographer, most of us are interested in success and finding it.
So how do you find success? The following list of habits of successful photographers comes from interviews, workshops, conversations, and hosting podcasts with many of the industry leaders of the last decade.
HOW DOES A PHOTOGRAPHER DEFINE SUCCESS?
First, it should be stated that before you start on the path of success you should define what success means to you. The definition of success is not universal. Success for one individual might be making a certain amount per year. For another, it might be having the freedom to spend time with family and friends. For another, it might be the ability to be your own boss.
However you define success, before you seek it in full, you should know what reaching it looks like. Every person’s point of view will be different.
SEEK INSPIRATION OUTSIDE PHOTOGRAPHY
Without fail, every photographer questioned tended to absorb media beyond photography. In much the same way as only getting news from a single source can bring a limited point of view, looking at too much photography, particularly in a single genre, can limit inspiration. Without intentional thought, a quick scroll through your Instagram feed can often confirm this.
The images you see will often look the same because the images you like often look similar. Many photographers interviewed used art museums, music videos, movies, and graphic novels as their primary sources of inspiration.
DAILY QUIET TIME HELPS CREATIVES
In a world of constant noise and digital distractions, our inner voice has become an unreliable narrator. We would love to believe all this information gives us an omniscient point of view but as artists we are losing touch with the childlike ability to imagine.
Purposely carving out the time to be alone, away from distractions, has become something many successful people, beyond just photographers, report as an essential element of their daily routines. Do it for a week. Find time to just be alone, away from a phone or tablet, and see if you find something forgotten.
Practicing gratitude could be combined with daily quiet time. This practice is focusing on the good things that happened in your life on a daily basis. During your day carve out space to write down three good things that happened over the previous 24 hours. Reflect on those three things - why were they good? How did others contribute to this good thing? How did you contribute to this good thing?
This practice has been shown to reduce the negativity bias, which is the natural human tendency to notice, remember, and give weight to negative things in our life. By noticing, remembering, and giving weight to the opposite you will increase your levels of optimism and gratitude.
"Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don't wish it were easier; wish you were better."
— JIM ROHN
LEARNING IS A PROCESS, NOT A DESTINATION
This might sound obvious but never stop learning. Many people believe that once they reach a title, or accomplish a task, or are finally certified as (fill in the blank) then they have arrived. The prerequisite learning is accomplished, there is nothing else to do but reap the rewards. The most successful people amongst us know that you can’t stop learning because if you do someone else will come along, innovate, and change the game.
YOU CAN’T BE A PHOTOGRAPHER WITHOUT DOING THE PHOTOGRAPHY
If you want to be a successful photographer you have to shoot. You have to practice the craft. You cannot call yourself the thing until you DO the thing. You have to shoot A LOT. Success often follows the path to mastery.
Mastery starts to take hold around year 7-10 of purposeful practice, notice that didn’t just say practice. Turns out that practicing something doesn’t make perfect, rather the intentional practice of something does.