The Photographer’s Journey

Photographer's Journey copyI have taught hundreds of photographers over the last few years.  Most of them come to me listing their frustrations, their failures and what seems to be a constant battle with their cameras.  They have all been on a journey, some very long, others relatively short, but their stories remain quite similar.  

When you speak to lots of photographers, you begin to see the same patterns repeating themselves.  The problems may seem frustrating at the time, but they tend to be quite predictable and solutions easily achievable.

So often my job is to identify where people are on their journey and help them get back on course.  The somewhat light-hearted representation of the Photographer’s Journey seen above is a roller-coaster ride full of highs and lows.  This is to be expected.  

Winchester-Street-PhotographyLearning any new kind of skill, whether it’s photography, learning to paint, sculpt or play the guitar… we shouldn’t expect instant success.   We shouldn’t, but many of us do.

I guess we can’t blame people for assuming that simply by buying an expensive DSLR, all their photos will be amazing.  But people do.

Why do they?

We’d never expect that with a guitar or piano.  If we wanted to paint in watercolours, we’d take watercolour lessons.  If we wanted to become a dancer, we’d take dance lessons.  Why do we think that we don’t need lessons to be a photographer?

Well of course, you don’t.

I didn’t (!)



I taught myself.   Years and years of reading and practicing and more reading and more practicing… making loads of mistakes, but forging forward knowing that one day I might get to a reasonably level.   It can be done, absolutely it can be done.  Just don’t expect it to happen overnight.

To be honest, many won’t make it.  Many will get bored or discouraged and fall by the wayside.  It’s hard to keep going when you see others plastering amazing photos on Facebook or Instagram… while yours are still looking very, very average.

And of course, eventually, many will simply leave their cameras at home and pick up their camera phones.  So much easier.  So much more convenient (phase 3 above).