There comes a time when we feel as if our photography has hit somewhat of a creative wall. Our photos seem to have become stagnant. This kind of leveling off of our photo work is frustrating and can lead to self doubt about the quality of our work. In some cases, this self doubt can spiral out of control and leave us questioning our purpose as photographers. But there’s no need to despair! There are so many reasons why our photographs seem to be lacking that same fire they once had or why from a technical standpoint they have become lackluster.
Sometimes the problem with our work is only noticeable to ourselves. After all, each one of is our own worst critic. Whatever the personal reason for the dissatisfaction with our current progress as photo makers I can guarantee you are not the first one to share in the frustration. That being said, finding the cause of the problem requires being honest with yourself and the understanding that you are the only one who can pull yourself out of the rut.
Here a few common causes for why your photographs aren’t of the quality you feel they should be.
You’re not shooting enough
Practice makes perfect. Or if we’re being honest, practice makes “better”. If you find a way to shoot a “perfect” photograph please let me know! But the truth is, the more photographs you make the better your photographs will inevitably become.
Shooting more frequently will refine your craft not only from a technical and compositional standpoint but also in proficiency with our camera gear. Set a goal for yourself to shoot four or five “keepers” every week to keep your mind fresh and your creativity from growing stale.
You’ve become complacent
We all strive for success through our photography. Even though “success” is defined in many different ways all of us seek for a measure of accomplishment with our work; either personally, creatively, or financially. Oddly enough, the problem arises after we have began to achieve our goals and find success due to the fact we can become lazy.
In our minds, reaching a goal can be a culmination and if we don’t set higher and higher goals complacency can weasel it’s way into our work. Always be humble when you receive accolades for your photography and keep pushing yourself to go farther. Don’t ever feel like you have nothing else to learn, nothing else to do, or nothing new to shoot. There’s always a next level.
Not recognizing there’s a problem
It might seem paradoxical, but never coming to the realization that your work isn’t what it could be is one of the most dangerous pitfalls of all. There’s no shame in understanding that your have more to learn. We all do. We should never blindly believe that we know all there is to know.
Just as with becoming complacent there is no way to move forward with our skill if we feel as if we’ve already reached the highest point we can achieve. Always strive to constantly triage your skills, your gear, and your mindset towards your own work. Again, be honest with yourself and if you see room for improvement actively seek ways to make a change for the better.
Pinpointing the reasons why your photography isn’t improving the way you feel it should be begins with being real with yourself. Why do you feel your photos could be better? Are their technical hurdles you need to learn more about? Are you actively applying yourself to your work?
If you do feel like your photos could be more impactful or of better quality don’t be ashamed to admit it to yourself! It’s the only way you can improve. And believe me, every photographer, no matter what their perceived level of skill or experience, always has room to improve some area of their shooting. You are most definitely not alone.