Making peace with practice

The most consistent piece of advice I’ve been given on how to improve as a photographer is – perhaps unsurprisingly – to practice.

“Practice your technique, improve composition and learn to find shots and angles that others don’t see.”
Every experienced photographer ever*

This is fantastic advice, particularly if – like me – you’re ever tempted to believe it’s the lack of expensive equipment which is a factor in your dissatisfaction with your images, as these are things that anyone can work on.

But when time for photography is limited, and when you’re frustrated with the imperfection of your images, practice, whilst being the logical thing to do, can also feel like the hardest. And it’s not just new photographers who struggle with this. Whilst researching this topic I found an article on ‘practice frustration’ written for beginner artists which I could relate to all too well:

“… you know where you want to be; you want to be drawing and painting really well. At least, better than you do now. You might even have particular artists in mind whose level of accomplishment you’d like to be able to emulate. It’s just that boring part of doing all the practice you could do without. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just skip to where you want to be without having to go round the houses first?”

Yes, it would, I thought. Thankfully, in another post, the writer goes on to give some ideas for how to build up to a regular skills practice which I found helpful and I’m interested in applying to my photography.

What I also find interesting is that, as I try and learn how to be a better photographer, I’m finding I’m also learning about things I never expected to, such as curiosity, delight, appreciation, self-belief, procrastination, habit-formation and even, the meaning of life. But those are certainly all topics for another day.

Meanwhile, if you have thoughts on how best to improve your skills as photographer through practice, I’d love to hear them. Thanks for reading.

*This first quote comes from another of the wise sages at my local photography group.

 

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