Push Yourself That Bit More, and Thus Push Your Photography

Do you give up when out photographing just a little too soon or do you give up when you have a succession of failures with a new technique? If so, you need to read this.
You may be tired and decide to pack it in for the day. And of course as soon as you pack up and leave the light will turn wonderful. Do you give up on trying that night photography technique you have told yourself you are keen to try just because it is a bit cold or your favorite show will be starting on TV? Or you may have put all your stuff away ready to try a new location and an opportunity presents itself. Do you get it all out again or do you go home or move on?

Pushing your photography requires pushing yourself. I don’t know about you, but lugging that big, heavy but oh so nice tripod around is hard work. Same with taking some of that extra gear. So do you leave it in the car or at home or do you make the effort?

Pushing your photography is a lot more than just pushing your technique. In fact, I would argue that really it is only the pushing of your thinking that advances your photography. Techniques are only the vehicle by which you demonstrate this change in thinking.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said that it is that last extra repetition of an exercise, after you wanted to stop that builds the muscle. When your dad told you that life was hard he may not have meant exactly that, but rather that sometimes you have to persevere even when you have little to apparently show for it.

Taking great photographs or making great art is not easy. In fact it is a complex and demanding task. Some of those demands are intellectual, learning exposure and optics and all the rest. Some is physical, such as carrying the gear, walking that bit further for that great view or crouching in a cramped position to get exactly the right point of view. But some is also emotionally and spiritually demanding: how do you keep going when it is just not coming together and the shots are lousy or how do you summon the motivation to drag yourself out of a nice, warm bed so you can shoot before dawn?

To borrow a phrase from the Mel Gibson movie ‘We Were Soldiers’, there is always one more thing you can do. So apply this to your photography, your art and to your whole life, in fact. There is always one more angle you can shoot, one more change in the lighting you can try or one more technique you haven’t given a go.

Are you a quitter?

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