WHAT I HAVE LEARNED AFTER 8 YEARS OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Two years ago I wrote a post, "What I've Learned after 6 years of photography." It's maybe one of my most popular posts. Seeing as it's been another two years (I can't believe it) I thought it might be a good time to revisit what I've learned and look back. 

2015 meets 2017 ... 

1  | GIVE YOURSELF GRACE

One thing I have learned over everything else that I think is most important is to give yourself grace. In 2015 I was struggling with my lack of growth. I felt like I should have covered so much more ground as a photographer. But I had failed to see everything I had gone through.

In 2015...I wondered why I hadn't grown more and then I looked back on my journey. I forgot about how much my life changed through my journey. I started photography, but then I moved to Florida, where I lived for a year. Then I moved back to Missouri, where I lived for a year and a half, then I moved to California, where I lived for two and a half years. And now I'm in New York. Moving around a lot requires a lot from a person and learning photography wasn't always a priority.

Grace upon grace in any journey is essential. Even now, after I feel that I have found my footing as a photographer. I can look back on this past year and see how much I've grown, but if I'm not careful I can fall into the comparison game and I start withholding grace. No matter where you are in your journey. No matter how short you feel it has been. No matter how long you feel it has been. Give yourself grace. 

2  | PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE 

We've all heard it. Practice, practice, practice. This was true for me eight years ago and it's still true for me today. As a photographer and an artist you can't stop and except to always have it. No matter where you are at in your journey, whether you are 6 month's in or 5 years in, practice will always be apart of the game. 

3  | EMBRACE YOUR FAILURES

It took me a long time to embrace my failures. But failure as a photographer is always an opportunity for growth. Failure simply means something your tried didn't work. Failure in photography simply means to try again, to keep going, to challenge yourself and to think outside of the box. The sooner you embrace failure and see it as a learning opportunity, the faster you will grow and the more knowledge your will gain. 

4  | VIEW COMPETITION AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SET YOURSELF APART

When most photographers get started in their industry, whether they are a portrait photographer, wedding photographer, commercial photographer, styled stock photographer or the like, they sometimes play it safe. They do what every other photographer is doing. It's not that they don't want to be unique, but they see that other photographers are being successful and sometimes they think, "I need to do it that way to be successful too." I've totally been there. I've played it safe and created images that we're "current" in my industry. 

The great thing about any journey is that we can continue to grow, find our rhythm as photographers and create things that we absolutely love, even if it's not what others in our industry are doing. That is what successful businesses are made of. They differentiate themselves.

Competition aside, you are unique, the way you do business is unique, the way you see and take photos is unique. Embrace that and your competition isn't really competition at all.

5  | SEEK OUT OTHER CREATIVES

When I first started out as a photographer I was petrified of other creatives. "What if they see right through me?" "What if they tell me I suck?" "I can't hangout with other creatives, I'm not as good as they are." This may not be a concern for everyone, but if it's something you are thinking, take a deep breath. Every creative I have ever met, whether it was another photographer, a lifestyle blogger, or a small business owner, they have all been kind, gracious and giving. 

What new photographers or new business owners don't know, is that regardless of how far we come in our journey, we'er all still learning. And most of the time we still feel like we don't know what we're doing, haha! 

6  | KNOW YOUR EQUIPMENT

Your camera can do a lot. So can your flash, lenses, and every other piece of equipment you may have. Keep learning your equipment. After eight years I still have things I'm learning. We never stop learning. Keep going, keep trying. keep learning.

7  | IT GETS EASIER

I'm so glad to include this one. It does get easier, friend. I never thought it would and some days are still hard, but it does get easier. Things that used to be hard, start to make sense. The things that took you so long to learn become habit. It gets easier and sweeter. You'll find your groove. You'll find your sweet spot. You're clients and customers will find you and you'll love creating for them. It get's easier. 

xoxo. Samantha