I guess this would be a part II of my previous article, “My Best Piece of Advice for Photographers Who Want to Give Up.” After that last article was written, I received quite a lot of personal emails from others who felt they were in the same boat and on the verge of giving up. Reading some of their stories really hit close to home for me and was basically the main reason why I wrote what I did. I tried my best to answer everyone, but if I missed you, I apologize. I get many emails a day and sometimes some of them slip through the cracks.
Many people wanted to know what it is I did to keep pushing through, not give up and how I got to the point of where I am today. This article should hopefully fill in some of the gaps left behind in the previous article.
So starting from the beginning where I mentioned growing up with a single mom and having to struggle…
This right here was the main reason that kept me going. You see, I did not get into photography to become a “famous photographer.” In fact, I think that if that’s an actual goal in this industry, you should probably give your head a shake….but that’s a whole other article.
My intentions were far from that. I got into photography as a hope and outlet to pay bills and eventually get away from my day jobs that burned me out mentally, physically and emotionally a long time ago. I had no idea that the way I did things would lead me to this point today.
Like I mentioned previously, it was the fear that drove me here. The journey this entire time has been a constant roller coaster of good and bad, encouragement and tear downs, highs and lows. Feeling happy and accomplished to encountering failure time and time again and wanting to just give it all up.
When I first began, I remember sometimes 2-3 months would go by and not one damn email from anyone. I was just so discouraged! I would be upset for days on end, questioning what I was doing wrong. But I didn’t give up…
After the previous article, I read a couple messages that I should not be telling people to just keep going if they don’t have the talent to do so. Well, I really don’t know of anyone that picked up a camera when they first started and just was on point and amazing at all they did instantaneously. It takes years of experience, dedication and HARD WORK!!
My article was meant for people who actually do have that little seed inside of them, waiting and wanting to grow.
You can read inspirational stories until you are blue in the face, but deep down if you don’t think you will ever make it, and keep sulking and pouting and looking at the next person with envy and negativity, well guess what? That’s exactly what you are going to continue to get.
I don’t mean to sound rude or harsh, but those are the facts.
What Kept Me Going
Here are some things that kept me going through the low times.
For one, I would submit work constantly to magazines and blogs. 95% would never even get back to me, but I would say to myself, “Oh well, their loss – whatever,” and move on. Yes, it sucked and hurt and I was rejected many times- but you get used to it. Let me tell you though, once I got published here and there, it was the most amazing feeling and I felt so happy! It was worth the pain of rejection.
Another example, I would be exhausted at the end of the week from my day job, but still would have the energy to do that creative shoot I had planned on the weekend- this is how you will know, that photography is what you want. When you TRULY believe in yourself, dedicate time, money, passion, long days and nights, study, research, think of creative ways to keep going when you might not have the money or support to do so otherwise, push, sweat, focus, have positive self-talk and just keep that drive, even if you lose it every second day – you will succeed eventually. This doesn’t happen overnight, this is a long, grueling process – blood, sweat and literal tears. I kept reminding myself what I was doing this all for.
There it is, that’s my “secret.” I held on to my dream. I didn’t ever let myself pout for too long. I constantly had to re-focus and keep moving forward.
The whole point of this is that basically, if you believe in yourself, I mean really, truly believe in yourself and do the hard work to get there, you will get to where you want to be. It may take 5 years or 20 – who knows. But when you get there, and you look back, it truly is worth it in the end.
For those of you reading this and you can relate to what I am saying – I would suggest to start taking mental notes of what you think about yourself and your work while you are shooting a subject and so on. Pay attention to your thoughts and realize that they can either lead you to success or the opposite.
One day at a time,