Self Improvement Next Year
"Improvement begins with I" Arnold H. Glasgow
Becoming a better photographer is something that will take a long time. To become better you have to work on bettering the weakest parts of your skills or processes. Actively looking at how you work is something every photographer should be doing. Self improvement doesn't just come in the form of doing a course or an event or watching YouTube videos. While all of these things are 100% advisable and are part of it, sometimes it is about looking at yourself. The one thing that you should constantly do as a photographer is to learn something new from every shoot or assignment that you have. It doesn't matter what that thing is, just make sure that you are walking away with learning something. If you are a new photographer the amount that you learn per shoot is going to be vastly more than an experienced photographer. The last few shoots I have done I have learnt quite a lot. I now have confirmed some things that I know I am good at and also I know some things that I definitely need to improve or are just missing all together. If you are not thinking to yourself "I should have done that" or "how could I have done that better" or even just a "It's only mildly interesting but I didn't know it" then you are not evolving and improving your craft.
"Look around you. Everything changes. Everything on this earth is in a continuous state of evolving, refining, improving, adapting, enhancing, and changing. You were not put on this earth to remain stagnant.” Dr. Steve Mataboli
Remaining consistent for a certain period of time is fine. Consistency is a fundamental of building a great business. It helps gain trust from customers, assurances in the product and service, generate new and repeat custom. However crossing that undefined line in the sand which goes from consistent to stagnant is not where you want to be. People who used to love the Olan Mills style famous for the disembodied floating heads (Google Olan Mills if you haven't seen them) in the 80's are not still doing that style of portrait any more. Partly because it was a creepy fad but more so because they evolved as photographers.
"By admitting your inadequacies, you show that you're self-aware enough to know your areas for improvement - and secure enough to be open about them." Adam Grant
Improvement, for some, may come less easily than it does for others. Not because they are not capable of improvement but because self improvement means that you have to be honest with yourself. For some ego might get in the way of improvement. Conversely low confidence might also get in the way of improvement equally. You cannot have an unrealistic view of your skills if you truly want to progress. You may want to ask somebody who has a completely neutral view on your work or working processes or a friend or family member who will actually be honest with you, if you cannot look at your own work and skills objectively. You could also do surveys with your customers about how they feel about your working methods.
"Strive for continuous improvement, instead of looking for perfection" Kim Collins
Improvement doesn't just have to be about the images you take or your style of photography. How you run your photography business is just as important to improve.
Kaizen is the Japanese word for improvement. In the business world it became the basis of continuous improvement in the Toyota motor company. This is pretty much the standard way of thinking within every company now. However this needs to actively be looked at. Not just at the end or beginning of a year like making New Year's resolutions. There is a reason that it is called continuous. In a time where some of even the biggest companies are dropping off the radar because they failing to change quick enough so are finding themselves redundant or irrelevant.
You can however use the continuous improvement plan to help yourself.
1. Identify - What is the weakest aspect of your photography?
2. Plan - Research how others do it successfully.
3. Execute - Try this new working method in your next shoot.
4. Review - Did the new method benefit you or make things easier?
Try this with every weakest part of your photography. If you have identified numerous things to improve it could seem overwhelming to improve so many things. You don't have to do this to lots of aspects at once of course, just do it one improvement at a time. Keep working on the weakest part of you.
Use next year a year to make yourself a better photographer. That is something that I will be doing next year and every year.
If you are new to my blogs then look through some of the previous ones. There are ones that teach a thing or two about photography, the history of photography, photo editing and more. Why not start your improvement here, right now.
That is all for now. Thanks for reading and see you all again soon.