Tag Archives: steven pressfield

Live Everyday Like It Is Your Last

This is one of the most cliché quotes most of us know but I think people really should stop and think about it more.

We waste time doing things everyday that are meaningless like watching TV, browsing the internet, or just vegging out in our living rooms.  If you think about it we don’t really have the luxury of wasting our time, we don’t have that much of it.  Everyone wants to accomplish more in their life whether it be exercising, starting a business or just making more time for anything that you love.  Most people end up doing nothing, or doing something that they don’t enjoy just because they are lazy or scared.  Some of the “reasons” you hear for them doing nothing are: “I don’t have enough time,”I am not good enough,” “There are already too many people doing that,” “I don’t have the resources to do that,” “I am not smart enough.”  The excuses and reasons for not doing something that you really want to do in your life are endless.  This is where another cliché quote comes in, ‘When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr.  Sometimes you just have to try something even when you are terrified.  You will be glad you did after you are done and can look back later in life and be proud of what you accomplished.  “If you’re are paralyzed with fear it’s a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.” ― Steven Pressfield.  Steven Pressfield calls it overcoming the resistance in his book “The War of Art.”  The resistance doesn’t want you to succeed, it just wants you to be average and be safe.  Don’t fall for what the resistance is telling you.

Another piece of living everyday like it is your last is the stress people feel from their day-to-day lives.  Is it worth stressing about every little thing during the day?  I just don’t think it is worth all the worry about everything.  All you do is kill yourself faster by worrying about little things that will sort themselves out on their own with time.  I think you should be thankful for the life that you have and make the most of it.  Everyone has stress in their life but just take it one moment at a time and do what you have to get through it.

What really got me thinking about this is a post I read about volunteering at a cancer ward and asking the patients if playing it safe in life would be what they would do if they had another chance.  You really don’t know how fickle life really is until you are about to die.  It is a shame that it takes getting to this point to really wish that you have lived the life that you want to live.  The main point that I want to get across is to just live and enjoy life.  Take risks, make mistakes, just live.  And as hard as it may be on a day-to-day basis, keep reminding yourself that you only have one life and you should live the hell out of it.  The best quote that I have read is the following:  “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Steve Jobs.

The way I am trying to beat the resistance is by starting this blog and trying to get more involved with photography.  I have always wanted to start a blog but never did it.  Finally I just decided to jump in and start sharing things about photography (and other things on my mind) on this blog.  I am also going to start trying to get paid jobs in photography this year which is a scary thing to think about.  But if I keep working at it I know I will be successful.

Get out there and do something that you have been wanting to do!

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Staying Motivated in Photography

Sometimes I get unmotivated to take pictures.  There are many reasons that this can happen.  It can be anything from being burnt out, thinking that there is nothing to take pictures of, or just not feeling satisfied with your work and putting the camera down.  One thing that sometimes happens to me is that I start looking at other photographer’s work and think that mine is not good enough.  This happens to most photographer but you shouldn’t get down on your work. There are too many things to take pictures of in a new way and so much time to learn how to become better.  I wanted to talk about how to stay motivated to take pictures and keep learning to become a better photographer.

1.  Enjoy moments without having to take a picture of them

We all get burnt out at times.  Sometimes all you may need is a little break from taking pictures.  Don’t totally forget about taking pictures though or you will end up leaving your camera in the closet for a year.  Other times you may have your camera but don’t feel the desire to take a picture.  Sometimes you just need to enjoy everyday life without taking pictures of the moment.  I bring my camera with me almost everywhere but there are times that I stop and just enjoy the moment without having to record it.  I am not saying never take pictures, I just want to state the fact that you should enjoy taking pictures and if you want to pull your eye away from the viewfinder for a little while it is okay.

2.  Work through the dry spell

There are times when you feel like there is nothing to take a picture of and you have no inspiration.  Don’t wait for the inspiration to strike you, just go take pictures and work through the times when your work isn’t at the high level that you expect it to be.  I think this is the biggest thing to think about.  Artists don’t wait for inspiration to create great work.  They keep working until they create something that is great. There is always something to photograph.  You can start any kind of photo project to get you started and keep working at it.

3.  Try to learn a new technique

Learning in photography never ends.  You can go out and learn how to do flash photography, which has endless things to learn. Or you can learn to take pictures at night with slow shutter speed photography.  It can even be taking pictures of something that you are not used to taking pictures of, like doing landscape photography if you are used to taking pictures of people.  By doing this you will broaden your creativity and it will reflect on how you take pictures.  Who knows, you may even find a branch of photography that you like even more than what you are currently doing.

4.  Believe in your photography

I think this is one of the most important.  You need to be confident that you can or are creating good photographs.  If you start browsing other photographer’s work and think that your work is horrible don’t worry about it.  Everyone feels this way about their photographs at some point.  Just keep practicing and learning and believe in the fact that you can become better.  You can even go through your older work and try to find the reason why your favorite pictures are your favorites and what you dislike about the ones that haven’t made your favorite list.  Everyone has their weaknesses, you just have to find them and try to overcome them.

5.  Get some new gear

Try getting a new lens or camera if you feel like your photography has hit a wall.  It’s not that you absolutely need this gear to be a good photographer but it can help you stay interested or broaden the areas where you can successfully take photographs.  I have just recently bought a Canon 5D Mark II and it has opened a world of low light photography (due to being able to use high ISO) that I have never experienced before.  The pictures out of the camera look so much different than they do with my cropped frame camera which has made me view my pictures differently.  Don’t fall into the trap of needing to acquire new things to drive your photography passion though.  The newness of something can ware off really fast if you let it.  Appreciate what you have and make sure you use it.

6.  Use prime lenses

There is a lot of argument on blogs about whether you should use zoom lenses or prime lenses.  I am not going to feed this argument but I think that by using a prime lens it can help you be more creative.  You have to work harder to get your subject in the frame in a pleasing way by using your feet to zoom.  You will also be able to predict how an image will look with that prime lens without actually having to look in the viewfinder so it will be easier to find more interesting subjects.

7.  Start a blog

By starting this blog it has me thinking of new photographs that I can take to share and explain.  I am also motivated to take more pictures so that I can share them on my blog.  By sharing what I know it also helps me to better understand the subjects that I am writing about.  To teach something you really have to know it.  Starting a blog is like starting a new project to accelerate your photography.

8.  Make time to do photography

The biggest thing photographers gripe about is not having enough time to take photos.  If you’re passionate enough about something you will make time for it.  Even if you only take pictures for 15 minutes a day, in the long run it will help you grow as a photographer.  Just take out your camera and take pictures, even if it is just at home around the house.  If you mark down all the time you waste during the day, like watching tv, staring at Facebook, or just browsing the internet, it will really show you how much time you let slip away.  Make sure you are using your time efficiently because none of us really have that much time to live and enjoy life.

9.  Wake up early, stay out late (Golden hour)

If you shoot outdoors then you definitely want to take this advice.  Just by being out during the golden hour, which is an hour at sunrise and an hour at sunset, it opens the door to many more photo opportunities.  The light is soft and warm and not harsh like it is during most of the day.  Your pictures will look a lot more interesting when they are taken during these times, which in turn will make you want to go out and take more photographs.  I take most of my pictures during the winter because the days are shorter and it is easier to get out at these time because they are at more reasonable hours.  During the summer the days are long so the sun rises early and sets fairly late, which are the times that I am not out and about.  I think it is definitely worth getting up early or staying out later to catch this time of day though.

10.  Travel

Travel to a new place, it can be either really far away or just to a new city.  By doing this you will see the place with fresh eyes and will be able to come up with more photographs than if you were just shooting in your regular areas.

There are many more ways to stay motivated in photography than this but I believe this is a good start.  I think the main reason people get unmotivated is because they are not doing everything they can to stay creative.  For this I would recommend Steven Pressfield’s book: The War of ArtIn this book he talks about overcoming resistance and fighting to not become mediocre, but to become what we are called to do.  Don’t be afraid to work past the fear and don’t be afraid to succeed.

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