It’s common to find yourself stuck in a creative rut. In fact, it’s perfectly natural and downright needed when you are a creative person. Without the occasional rut one would find themselves with little desire to try something new and exit their comfort zone. I’d be willing to go a step further and say that if you’ve never experienced a rut you’re either enamored with your own work (not a good thing) or you’ve just begun. So what does this have to do with the secret recipe to the best photography you’ll ever take? Glad you asked…
Being in a rut causes us to reflect and reset. In doing so, I feel like I have narrowed down what it was that enabled me to create some of my best images to date. The funny thing is, it has absolutely less to do with the cameras I use, the composition, the technical proficiency, or the place I’m shooting in. No, the most important recurring theme is hard work. Ugh, bummer right? Stay with me here.
Hard work alone isn’t the answer. I know plenty of people who work incredibly hard… At the wrong things. How often do you spend the day taking lots of photos and then spend ten times as long looking at them, editing them, posting them to various social networks, and then counting your likes like a mobster counting his dollar bills? The magic ratio of photographing to editing and posting is more like 10 to 1, 10 hours of photographing for every one hour of editing and posting. If you nail that ratio you’re on your way to capturing some of the best street photography of your life.
A great photograph, whether it is the composition or the story, needs very little post processing work. If you find that you are spending hours “doctoring” your photos I’d suggest you Google the phrase “you can put lipstick on a pig”. The best photographers in the world are the ones who are continually perfecting their craft by heading out, day after day, with their cameras and using them.
All images you see here were taken with the Leica M262 and Leica 35mm (except top image)
There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. A recent project where I created images that were 34 feet long by 10 feet high required me to spend HOURS in front of a very slow and bogged down Photoshop to create said images. Thankfully, that kind of computer time is exceptionally rare (I’ve only had 3 clients who required anything close to that size). To see examples from this project you can check out my portfolio here.
What do you think? What the secret behind your best photographs? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Enjoy your day!