Learning A New Skill takes Time
I realized a couple of weeks ago at a photographer’s conference, that learning a new skill takes time, and time is a valued commodity in my world where most of my time is taken up with my “day job” of being a truck driver.
The conference I attended was the 2018 Portrait Masters which was hosted by Sue Bryce Education, and it was the most energizing, educational experience I’ve had in a long time. The speakers she had were phenomenal and full of so much information packed into such a short period. There was no way I could soak up over 25 years of experience that each of these speakers tried to share in just the hour or two they had to speak. Though, each of them were different in their own way, they all taught me that my mind is the most valuable tool I have in my bag, not to ignore it, and that it takes time to develop my creativity.
I was very depressed and angry with myself before the conference. I was very negative towards myself. Always putting myself down, and constantly crying. I know now that this was do to me feeling like I wasn’t advancing quick enough in photography. I was constantly comparing myself to others that had been in the field for 2-3 years that were excelling and achieving what I so desperately wanted NOW (I was so jealous). I didn’t love myself very much!
My husband is always reminding me that I can’t compare myself to those that have the opportunity to be at home (staying in one place) and learning their craft even if it’s just on the weekends. That I need to give myself time to learn this craft, and to be easier on myself. Though I’ve been doing this since the end of 2016, I’ve only had 13 shoots, and that is much less than what most photographers get to shoot in a year. Even though he’s ALWAYS reminding me of this, I did not actually listen to him, and who does when they are on a roll of being hugely self critical?
I do a lot of thinking while driving down the road, especially when listening to podcasts about photography, and the other day I had one of those A HA moments! My husband was right (don’t tell him I said that). The speakers I listened to at the conference all had over 25 years of experience with a camera and in this craft called photography. I on the other hand will be lucky to say that I really started down this road almost 2 years ago. That’s peanuts compared to them.
Now, when I think about my “day job”, a career I’ve been in more than 35 years, I consider myself an experienced professional truck driver. Even though I’ve driven many different trucks in my career, I quickly learn my equipment and I know how to use it efficiently and effectively. This was achieved by performing pretty much every day for most of my adult life.
I have to use this same train of thought when it comes to photography. I need to learn my equipment and use my tools (this includes my mind) every day effectively in order to master photography. I need to take my camera out, edit, or think creatively every day. Even creating a story in my head will get those mental juices flowing and using one of my tools, my mind.
I always have my camera with me, but not always out of the bag. I don’t always need to photograph a portrait of someone in a studio to learn my camera and to become a master in photography. A few of the things I can do to achieve mastery is take my camera out more often and photograph something, anything, in low light, or learn to use my filters and shoot objects in bright sunlight. I can think about a story to tell with my camera, then do it. I can learn a new way to edit a photo in Photoshop and do it so I’ll become more proficient with editing. I can learn how to do a multi-image composition in Photoshop. I need to get out of my comfort zone and experiment with light, composition, and editing.
If I do the above every day, I will become a master of photography. This will take time and patient, but I will become proficient with this skill and I will be happier with myself for doing the work. I will love myself more and continue to always learn!
Is there something you’re learning and want to become better at it more quickly? Are you frustrated that it doesn’t seem to come to you as quickly as you wish? We’ve all been there. Share your thoughts below.
Remember to enjoy life, enjoy the day and to take photos of the memories!