For years after getting my first DSLR camera and starting my photography journey I compared my pictures to those I saw on Instagram or Pinterest. I wished my pictures were bright and airy, my subjects weren’t things around my house or my dog. I was comparing myself to others that had been in the business for years, where I was just starting and still needed to learn. Rome wasn’t built in a day and my pictures weren’t going to be perfect overnight, but at the time I fell into the comparison trap almost daily. I need to change my MINDSET!
It wasn’t until I found my “why” and my true passion that I became more content with where I was in my photography journey. Yes, I still want my pictures to look like the photographers I follow on Instagram but I am learning to be content with where I am in my photography journey and the pictures that I am taking.
Instead of getting down on myself and shying away, I am trying to give myself grace and focus on capturing the moment.
By doing this I have captured opportunities that I would have otherwise missed. I have been able to capture moments that my kids will remember for years to come. It has challenged me to learn more about photography and practice.
So how did I become content with where I was in my photography journey? With awareness, acceptance, and patience. Here’s how you can cultivate these three things in your life to feel more content with where you are in your photography journey:
How To Be Content With Where You Are
In order to be content with where you are in your journey, you need to become aware of how far you have come. Most of us are so focused on the future or what we want something to be that we rarely stop to appreciate where we started from. Instead, take some time to reflect on how far you have come. A great way to do this is to look back at those photo books that you have created. I know for me I see so much progress in my photography when I look at the photo books I created before my kids.
Of course, there are moments when you’ll compare yourself to others or wish that your pictures looked different. Remember that these moments will pass and you won’t feel this way forever. If anything, mindfulness teaches you that none of your thoughts, feelings or beliefs have to be permanent.
Accept Where You Are and Work to Make it Better
Once you’ve become more aware of how far you have come, you have to cultivate greater acceptance – of yourself and your pictures. Acceptance is the willingness to see things as they are in the present, not clouded by judgment and bias.
Think you need to be better at something or feel that you should be more like so-and-so? Ask yourself if these thoughts are coming from a place of self-compassion. If they’re fueled by jealousy or comparison, take a step back and ask yourself what is most important for you right now: accepting yourself and your pictures as you are OR trying to make your work into someone completely different.
This doesn’t mean that you should passively accept everything as it is. Obviously there is always room for improvement (especially in our world today), but acceptance means not forcing things to be a particular way. Instead, stay open to the idea that there is more than one way to do something. And keep practicing!!
Patience is about letting things unfold in their own time. If you allow yourself grace, compassion, and patience, you will see that you are already capturing those moments that you treasure and you are more likely to be content with where you are in your journey. Sometimes we rush into things or make impulsive decisions because we’re afraid of not succeeding.
Patience will help you love the pictures you have taken and encourage you to keep practicing.
Take the pressure off yourself by giving yourself some breathing room. Step away from seeking perfection and just take the picture. Sometimes you have to trust the process and believe that you’ll get where you want to be. Start embracing the moment and be open to whatever it takes you.