Most amateur photographers at some point through their journey feel like they have reached their peak. This might lead to the frustration that they cannot take their potential in taking great photos any further. Often the barriers that are holding them back have nothing to do with skill. Instead, they are either mental or the common photography pitfalls that they fall into. If you are one of these photographers, fear not. Below you’ll find 6 potential issues that are holding you back. The first step in being able to push through your limitations is to understand them. Because only then can you begin to rectify these issues and move forward.
Not confident enough
Confidence plays a huge part in anything that we humans do. When you are confident you feel you can achieve anything. It helps to motivate and push you further. But a lack of confidence in photography is probably the most common reason that is holding people back. Confidence is such a vital part of photography that if you are lacking in confidence, it is something you need to address. The first thing you should do is establish what you are lacking confidence in? Is it approaching people to take their photo? Is it the confidence in knowing what settings to use? Or is it a lack of confidence in your ability?
Whatever you are lacking confidence in, that is the area that you should focus on. But it’s not enough to simply acknowledge it. You need to try to train yourself to improve in that area. Because that is what will give you the confidence you need. For example, if you are shy and don’t like approaching people, make it a mission to do so. Set yourself a daily challenge to photograph one person. Then increase it to two and so on. Eventually, it will become second nature to you.
Or for example, if you are lacking confidence in knowing what settings to choose, make that a priority to practice. Go to a market for a day and keep shooting until you get a good idea of the settings you need. Then next time practice photographing during the blue hour until that becomes comfortable for you to do. Eventually, you will have a good understanding of every scenario and what settings you need to use.
Blaming your gear
This is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to photography. Having better or more expensive equipment will not make you a better photographer. If you don’t believe this, just have a look on Instagram at the thousands of amazing iPhone photographers out there. So don’t hide behind your gear and instead try to examine and understand how and why your photos are not as good as you want them to be. Better equipment will make the quality of your photos better. But that is in terms of resolution, sharpness and even colour saturation. But a poorly composed and executed photo will not be made better with a more expensive camera.
Saying “I don’t have enough time”
Everyone in any line of profession is always guilty of using this excuse. Whilst it is true that as an amateur photographer you may not have as much time to dedicate to photography as a pro, it shouldn’t be an excuse. If you want to improve your photography you have to dedicate the time to learn, practice and even examine your failures. Try to dedicate a set night in a week where you can just focus on photography. Think of it like attending a class. Or if you struggle to manage your time why not join a local camera club. Often you will find that because there are regular meetings every week, it will become part of your schedule.
Not shooting enough
Even if you feel that you do not have the time at all, at the very least you should carry your camera with you every day. Using the time when you are commuting to take photos is a good way to practice. Photography is like any other hobby or profession, the more you practice the better you will become. Try to set yourself a target daily, weekly or even monthly. But try not to think of it as to quantity but rather quality. Aim to capture one great shot a day. So even though you might take fifty photos, aim for that one fantastic shot. Even if you managed to capture just one great shot a week, that would be 52 a year. But think of how many you might have taken for those 52? Those photos will help you learn as much as your great shots.
One of the things that always astonishes me is how often I see photographers turn up somewhere, take a photo and leave in the blink of an eye. There is no time spent thinking about the shot or the light. No thought on the composition or even just taking in the scene. Very rarely will I ever find that my favourite photo from a scene is my first shot. Of course, sometimes there won’t be time to wait around and you have to capture the shot straight away. But if you are photographing something like a landscape scene, take your time instead of rushing to take the photo. You might be surprised by the results.
All of the points above sometimes end up with you giving up. You may give up waiting for the perfect light when you are at a scene. Or you might just give up photography. The thing about photography is that sometimes it can be incredibly frustrating and disheartening. Even seasoned professionals will have their moments of thinking that a change in career might be in order. But if you can persevere and identify where you can improve then you may just find yourself being able to push through the thought of giving.
Photography can be incredibly rewarding. Just think of that moment when you were able to nail that shot that you had to work hard to capture. Or maybe it was just a lucky fleeting moment. Either way, you are proud of that shot. So every time that you feel that one of the issues above is holding you back think to that moment. Or just imagine how great it would be to capture that incredible shot. It may just stop the issue holding you back.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.