I recently got an email from a dear reader. She wrote asking if I ever felt discouraged and doubted my work. She has been on this journey for about 3 years like me and felt stuck. At the end she asked if I ever felt this way. I was almost in tears reading the email because I could have written it word for word. I have shed many tears over this wonderful craft that I love but struggle with so often.
Self doubt and feeling lost in your photography isn’t talked about much so I’m going to lay it out on the line. I have been in a huge slump with my photography. I’m talking months. I think as photographers we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to continue to grow and improve and when we aren’t able to see that growth in our work it is extremely discouraging. I have taken tons of workshops and feel “over-educated” (that is how the reader described her feelings). I know exactly what my photos “should” look like but for some reason I am not able to achieve the look I’m going for. It’s frustrating!
It has gotten so bad that I feel so much pressure to capture these perfect images of our children and especially Claire. I know better than I did when the other two were babies, so my photos so be great, right? That is a lot of pressure. Of course, no one is saying this to me, I have said it myself. So what do I do since I can’t produce what I want, I don’t shot anything at all.
It isn’t a matter of comparing myself to others because I don’t really do that. We are all on our own journey. I know for me photography does not come naturally. Teaching, that came naturally. Photography is something I have to work at and think about to improve. I do compare myself to myself and see some growth but not as much as I would like.
I was encouraged when I spoke with a few photographers whom I admire who also shared that they have been or are in a slump with their photography. Even the greats struggle to find their creativity from time to time.
So what am I going to do to get myself out of this slump? I have spent a lot of time trying to figure it out. It is not a matter of buying a new lens or any other type of quick fix. It’s going to take hard work and dedication. I’m going to start shooting everyday again. I realize my photography really flatlined when I stopped shooting daily. I miss that. I am going to take some of the workshops I have taken and take the information and redo them. I will give myself little assignments. I’m going to get a portfolio critique. I would love to have a photographer I admire look at my work and tell me what I can do and should do to continue to grow.
Have you ever been in a slump? What did you do to get out of it?