There are aspects to a fashion photographer’s life people do not understand. At times, it can be a very difficult, frustrating, and a highly demanding job; even the best photogs in the business can find daunting. Our lives are overwhelming at times, and can be draining both mentally and physically. Learning to manage stressful situations and a busy schedule can seem impossible at first, but worry not, it get’s better.
Photographers are constantly working on pervious, current, and future productions. They are working on retouching photos, booking talent (models, assistants, etc), and location; sometimes staying up all night to finish photos from last week’s shoot. People do not understand the time that goes into retouching after the shoot. It’s stressful and overwhelming at times to realize how much you have on your plate. Giving up is always in the back of your mind; every photographer in the business has thought about it at one point (you are NOT alone).
My best tips for staying positive and motivated are:
1- Find what you love about being a fashion photographer and instill it back into your routine. For me it was working with an amazing team and meeting new talent. So I am always searching the development section of agencies to see a new face that inspires a new idea.
2- Stay creative and inspired; if you see or hear something that inspires and motivates you, work on a system to incorporate it into a new project (whether it be in the wardrobe, makeup, or overall theme of the shoot). Stay driven to improve yourself and your work and you will always stay inspired.
3- Try something new. Try shooting with different lighting set-ups, color gels, or light modifiers. If you shoot mostly inside, try shooting on location…and vise-versa. Push yourself to be different! and unique!
4-Take a break. When you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, take a breather and know everything will be fine. Worrying about the small stuff will only cause you to suffer. Learn what helps you stay organized; I keep lists to keep myself prioritized and organized. Learn what works best for you and utilize it to your advantage.
5- Do NOT compare yourself to other photographers, especially the greats; or view everything as a competition. This habit is bad for many reasons, in short, you’re only hurting yourself and your growth as an artist. Instead, compare your work against itself six months ago, if there is not any development…you need to work on it and find ways to do so. Have a friend or trusted colleague with similar tastes give feedback.
6- DO NOT take criticism personally as an attack to you as an artist. I understand it’s hard to hear your favorite photograph that you spent hours retouching and getting just right, isn't working well with audience…just move on. There will be other photographs in the future that will inspire and excite you more than the last. Learn what mistakes you made and start working on how to fix them.