Foolish Lies You Keep Telling Yourself That Are Holding Your Photography Hostage

Foolish Lies You Keep Telling Yourself That Are Holding Your Photography Hostage

Photography is crazy hard to master. That difficulty becomes impossible when you start locking yourself behind walls of your own creation. Stop deluding yourself, those little restrictions that you keep using as crutches to excuse your lack of progress are only inhibiting your ability to grow. Shatter those internal lies so you can keep pushing your photography forward and become the photographer you dream of.

I Don't Have or Can’t Afford Good Enough Gear

Do you have a camera? Does it work? Then you have good enough gear. Period. There will always be some other magical piece of gear that promises to make you a better photographer. It's lying to you. Only you can make yourself a better photographer.

Better gear gives versatility and enables you to become more consistent or to overcome specific technical limitations. It doesn’t stop you from making a great photo. It doesn’t stop you from making many great photos. Only you do that. So stop it! Forget about your lack of gear and instead remember that it is great vision that makes great photos.

I Don't Have Enough Time

“How can we ever have time if we never take time?” — Merovingian

Yup, I just quoted "The Matrix," but it's painfully true. I hear this excuse all the time. You didn’t buy your camera to have an expensive dust catcher. You bought it so you could take amazing pictures. Find the time to use it.

It is so unbelievably easy to sink into the lie of not having enough time. You do have enough time, you just are not prioritizing photography. There is always time that can be found if you look for it. Make the time to build your success.

I Don't Have Good Enough Photos

I have a secret. You never will. I bet Ansel Adams died thinking his work wasn’t good enough. Don’t hold yourself back from pushing your work forward by thinking that your current work isn’t good enough.

I can think of half a dozen younger photographers I know who are holding off making their portfolio because their work isn’t “good” enough yet. A couple of them have been paralyzed in this lie for years. Don’t be that person that never moves forward out of fear that you are not good enough. You are good enough. Get your work out into the world. Then become even better.

There Isn't Anything/Anyone For Me To Photograph

Do you live in a locked and padded white cell with only a camera? Because even if you do, I bet there are still some really interesting self-portraits to be created. Everyone in the world has access to interesting things to photograph. Find an exciting story and tell it. There is always a way to perceive the mundane as extraordinary.

Furthermore, if you are looking to create a specific photo of a specific subject that you don’t have immediate access to, then start hustling your way to getting access to it. Sitting at home whining about having nothing to photograph won’t do any good. Seek out that which you want to take picture of. If photography is truly your passion, that might mean taking a trip or even moving somewhere new (take it from someone who has started over in completely new places before, it isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds).

Finding people to work with is also damn easy. I'm asked all the time how I find such gorgeous models to shoot with. The answer is absurdly simple: "I ask." Some turn me down but the vast majority are excited to collaborate.

So Get Off Your Keester And Do It!

Sound your internal trumpet! Make a vow to stop lying to yourself. Decide that today is going to be the day you obliterate those internal walls holding you back. Go out and start making better photos right now.

The best opportunity you have to become a better photographer is right now.

Log in or register to post comments
Chris Ramirez's picture

Very good article, I must accept sometimes I have fallen into this. Thank you for sharing it.

Sean Shimmel's picture

Indeed. Don't we all. To defy the first lie above, I pulled out my "ancient" D80 and shot alongside my D800 and was pleasantly pleased:

Darren Nana's picture

Whilst most points are valid, I'd have to say that not having enough time CAN be a genuine problem for those holding down a full time job and not neglecting their family...

Jennifer Kelley's picture

Agreed. Once upon a time, that would have been an excuse, back in my days of working retail and waiting tables without a family. Now that I'm older, have a career, and a child, things like not picking up and traveling at the drop of a hat or making sure I get enough sleep so I don't fall asleep in a meeting is being a responsible adult and parent.

Ralph Hightower's picture

Great article! Use what you got!

Do you have a camera? Yup
Does it work? For 35 years (Canon A-1).
Can you still get film? Yup.

I'm not a photography professional, but I've been taking one of my cameras to work (A-1, F-1N, or 5D Mk III). and shooting during lunch, breaks, the commute (drive-by shootings).

About the "Not Good Enough Photos"/"There Isn't Anything/Anyone For Me To Photograph":
Shoot an event as if you were a photojournalist. There's a yearly Greek festival and I shot the event using B&W film. I entered seven photos as an entry to a photojournalism themed contest at a local camera club. Until the final tenth entry, there was a three way tie for first. I won the tie-breaker with B&W film.

Connor Moriarty's picture


Joseph Ponthieux's picture

I have been in these situations more than once mainly because of where my job is located. A photography friend of mine has been pushing me to get out and shoot and now everything he has told me finally makes sense.

Mario Gonzalez's picture

Love the article thanks this might be just what i needed.

Prefers Film's picture

Good advice! But I have spent the last 10 days with my cameras never more than 5 feet from me (except while flying). I've taken some great images, and honestly, I am ready for a break. Without my tripod, the Airport Accelerator weighs 24 pounds, loaded.

Connor Moriarty's picture

Great piece. As a younger photographer trying to get myself out there, I am tempted by these points often.