Make sure you have an AND or an OUT

January 12, 2012

Do you ever get in a rut or in that mode where you are just not motivated? We all get there and it’s tough to get out of it sometimes. Watching other photographers and viewing their work should inspire. For the most part it does, but when you are struggling with your own work it starts to make you upset. You start to question yourself as a photographer. I know I've done it. You just have to face it, it will always be like that. There will always be someone better at the craft you are trying to perfect.

I have decided to stop caring about all of that. I will strive to be the best I can at what I do and not try to be better than others in my field. It’s really pointless. It takes away from you being a creative person. Making money from taking pictures is pretty awesome, but that’s not what keeps me motivated. Snapping a few frames of someone and saving that moment forever keeps me motivated. Taking pictures is not the only thing that keeps me motivated. You have to have something more.

I recently read an article about “having an and”. I wish I had the link to reference it. This is something I have been doing for years and I didn’t even know what I was doing until I read that blog post. Basically it talked about having an "and" plus having what you do for a living. So for me, it would be photographer and artist or photographer and designer. You could be a musician and programmer, painter and cyclist. It could be anything. I’m not saying don’t spend more time on your passion, I’m saying have another source for creativity to keep you fresh and motivated.

Over the years I have been a graphic designer, web designer, video editor and artist, outside of photography. Before I got back into photography, I didn’t have anything outside of the field I was in. In return, I got burned out on what I was doing for a career. I could write it a million times. You need an "and" or an "out". Whatever you call it, you need it. If you don’t, you run the risk at getting burned out and not being 100% at what you are passionate about.

By having an “and” or "out" does several things. It keeps you fresh on the thing you are most passionate about. It opens doors for inspiration and creativity in other areas that you never thought you would get inspiration or creativity from. It also gives you another area that you can make money for you and/or your family. You never know when a client might want something more than you offer.

Right now I am a photographer and artist. This means I will do things outside of photography like doing video projects and making art. Sure it’s all art, but not the same art. Spending several days on a video project then returning to taking still photographs is refreshing for me. I will even continue to work on some web and design stuff. I can write about this forever because I believe it’s very important but I won’t. I will end with challenging you to spend 30 minutes to an hour a day on something other than your money maker. You will be surprised at what it can do for you.