How to Stay Fresh as a Photographer in the New Year

How to Stay Fresh as a Photographer in the New Year

Welcome to the new year. As a new set of days arrives, I wanted to share a quick thought on one thing all photographers should remember, but can be easy to forget.

We all love beginnings. The butterflies in an athlete's stomach as he walks out onto the field before the championship game. The gleeful ambiguity of a writer sitting down before the blank page. The rush of adrenaline a photographer gets as the subject finally arrives on set. There’s a certain lifeblood that runs through all beginnings that fills us with a unique sensation many other of life’s moments can find lacking.  

That rush of emotion is generated by a sheer sense of possibility. That athlete knows that, when the final whistle blows, he could be a champion. The writer knows that, once she sets her pen down, she may be resting it on the loose pages of a masterpiece. As a photographer lays eyes on a fresh subject, observing the odd but beautiful shape of the eyes, the hidden well of emotion in the way they carry their shoulders, that unique smile, he knows that once he presses the shutter this could very well be his best work yet.

Possibility is intoxicating. It can drive us forward day-by-day, minute-by-minute with the glowing notion of imminent success. But, possibility can also be fleeting. As those minutes turn into days, the days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into years, each passing breath without the scent of our randomly preordained definition of success can dim our sense of possibility. It challenges our belief. It threatens to weaken our core foundation, causing us to second guess ourselves and wonder whether our true destiny may be a sky far dimmer than the one in our original untarnished dream.

Allowed to go unabated, doubt can suddenly begin to form a cancer. Our expectations diminished, our sense of possibility gradually narrowed, we suddenly find even our precious beginnings now deficient of their previous joy. We allow each new day to be a continuation of the previous night’s conclusion rather than treating our waking breathes as yet another opportunity to excel.

But what would happen if we decided to fight back? What would happen if we insisted that every day of our lives be fueled by a sense of possibility? How much healthier and happier would we be if we could maintain our sense of beginning.

Well, we can. Sure, it’s not always easy. There will be derailments along the way. The athlete may throw an interception just before halftime. The writer may have to cross out a paragraph or two along the way. The photographer may fail to capture the true spirit of the subject exactly the way he intended. But whatever the ills of yesterday, we can always start fresh this morning and declare that today, this day, this moment, is an opportunity to change our life for the better.

Today you have the possibility to succeed. Today you have the possibility to book your dream client. Today you have the possibility to create the best photograph of your career. Today you have the possibility to achieve your dream.

Treat every moment like the beginning of something beautiful and you can use that sense of possibility to power a positive life and career.

Christopher Malcolm's picture

Christopher Malcolm is a Los Angeles-based lifestyle, fitness, and advertising photographer, director, and cinematographer shooting for clients such as Nike, lululemon, ASICS, and Verizon.

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YES so important