Maintaining satisfaction

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by shawn_mertz, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. This might be more for those of us that have been doing this awhile but here goes.
    So you get your first camera and start learning to photograph. For me that was 35 years ago, I was 11. You learn lots of stuff and keep learning. Composition, lighting, cropping, exposure, developing, printing. What seemed like endless stuff to learn. It was so much fun. You reach a level of expertise and turn pro. For me as a staffer. You have mastered most of the process and have reached a point where instead of asking for advice you are the one people turn to for help.
    You might shoot things a certain way based on what you know customers expect, or based on your total workflow. You still love what you do, but miss the feeling you had the first time you saw that print pop to life in the darkroom or computer screen and thought wow! I did that.
    As an example I had a talented but inexperienced photographer tagging along with me in the spring. At the reception I got a shot of a fleeting moment across the room, a nice picture but won't make my portfolio. He saw the same thing from where he was and almost ran across the room to get what I was done with. He missed the photo but was still excited just to be there. For me seeing him was fun.
    I have an answer or two but this came up in an earlier post about something unrelated. First we learn to walk then run and climb. Once you climb the high mountains of photography many times how do get keep getting the wow that was fun feeling?
  2. Every time I complete a shoot - whether it's a senior, wedding, family, etc...
  3. After almost 25 years of photography, I still grab every single thing that exites me, even a little. There is nothing that I consider non-portfolio or non-website material. Even if a composition or a tonal range are the same as something I shot a while ago, I will shoot it as best I can because I always discover something new in every image...always.
    True, sometimes I may qualify a shot before taking it (i.e. know whether it will come out all right BEFORE I take it), but other than that, I still shoot like day 1...;-))))
  4. I still have creative fire, and shoot more than day one. that Kod-autmatic not sure how its spell but anyway it only held 12 shots I had to be choosier back then.
  5. I'm not depressed or thinking of quitting or anything. This subject got touched on about a month ago by someone else. I offered him bit of encouragement as both of you are but lets explore it some and have some fun doing it.
  6. David, Can you dig a little deeper? why? Is there anything in your approach to photography? Do you have a great zest for life in general?
  7. You have mastered most of the process...​
    Personally, I haven't mastered anything. I've yet to take a photograph that couldn't be improved. Every shutter press is an opportunity to produce something better, and that's what keeps me interested.
  8. Shawn,
    Keep shooting and learning for as long as you have that satisfaction. Once you don't, it's time to move on t something else as you'll be doing yourself and your clients a disservice. There is such a thing as burnout in any field of work and when the "spark" is gone, you may or may not be able to get it back....-TED :)
  9. Ted, don't worry about me. I still love photography. To the contrary I wish for more opportunities. Last week, I had one of the best weeks in a long time, I actually had varying shoots every day some of them long days for 8 days solid and loved it. About a month ago it was suggested to start a thread on along this line. Maybe I missed the mark in the post, I would never make it as a writer.
    Neil, I was worried about using the word mastered, I cringe when I get called expert or master or anything like that.
    I was thinking more along the lines of sharing things we do to, or philosophy behind keeping the fire burning.
    I already mentioned I like to help out new photographers from time to time. There questions bring back to my attention things I have thought through long ago and sometimes cause me to think them through again. The way they are driven by pure passion is fun to watch.
    Another is sometimes I like to shut off or ignore the cameras computer and focus manually and use nothing but the light meter in my brain.
  10. I wasn't going to answer because I can't really help further the discussion, but decided that I should, just to add to your research numbers... :^)
    I actually still think shooting a wedding is fun--even the stressful parts. Can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing on a Saturday (or whenever). So that same excitement still happens for me when I see my images (now on the LCD--then when I got proofs back). While there are some weddings that are just a bear to endure, I can still enjoy those moments.
  11. I'm right there with you Nadine. I've not been shooting all that long (less than 10 years) but I still get enough of a rise out of wedding photography that couples sometimes have to remind me I can stop shooting, that my scheduled time ended an hour ago. I'm just a junkie for it. : )
  12. I am 78 in good shape and have put my wedding business behind along with a newspaper stint. A couple of weeks ago I went up into the White Mountains to get fall foliage. I got one picture that excited me. I couldn't wait to print (I take great satisfaction doing my own processing and printing) this picture at 13x19. I printed it and got a mat, put together a frame in a day two days ago and hung it in our bedroom. I am pleased enough with it that I am still visiting it. It is much better in a large print than on the web. Yes all of this still excites me. I have a subscription to Lynda because I am still learning almost every day from their and photonet. I have taken a lot of pictures but I never tire of it. My inspiration lags at times but it keeps coming back. Moderator Note: Dick--I am leaving your image in place, but want to remind you that posted images in the wedding forum are supposed to be wedding images (or event images). Since your image directly relates to your commentary, it will stay this time.
  13. "When the hurlyburly's done," when the gear's all snuggled in bed, after the culling and the editing and the designing and composing, when my neck and back are killing me and I'm rubbing my eyes and my feet, I slip the slideshow into the player for a final check. Watching that series of events unfold one more time, experiencing the emotion and the action, this time without having to capture it, I feel humbled and privileged and an overwhelming sense of gratitude that I was invited to participate in the couple's special day, and I'm ready to do it all over again.
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Once you climb the high mountains of photography many times how do get keep getting the wow that was fun feeling?​
    • Because I am a total fruit cake and I have several cameras and one is usually with me all the time – seriously - the advent of digital has made me worse.
    • Because there are a gazillion pictures out there - and I only have several hundred thousand of them to my name. And I am with Neil on the issue of “Master of What”? The pictures I miss with my camera I get with my eye – but my camera is better at retaining the image than my brain. This doesn’t mean I shoot nine zillion shots each day – but I do shoot mostly every day.
    • Because even though I don’t get the high from the adrenaline rush of planning, prepping and covering a Wedding with its “one go at it” rule because I made a decision to stop: because I could not afford the commitment of my time, in advance, to be set in concrete. But I do get the high from the shutter release, after seeing and planning the shot – be that an hour or a millisecond.
    • Because I was talking to a friend the other day about the skill of (a FILM Photographer) “just knowing” when a good shot was nailed – for example the Bride and Dad walking down the Aisle and you wait and pull off three shots only, maybe four – because you only have 15 on the roll – so the first one must count but you know it was dud as you are positive she blinked: so you re-group but on the second she went slightly profile, you know that shot will hold; but you want a better choice – and you nail the third. What we were discussing was how we “just knew” the third shot was a ripper. . . That’s what keeps me going – knowing I did the best I could at that particular moment in time within those circumstances - and the feeling at the SINGLE shutter release: that I KNEW I nailed it. Now, when I review the shots with scrutiny and at leisure, later – there are ways each can be improved: but that is a different kettle of kippers and does not detract for the high of pulling the good shot at the time, and “just knowing” I did so.
    • Because like you, I get a kick out of seeing a student nail a shot or even miss a shot but then seeing the light globe go on when they find out why they missed it – and I get a kick out of explaining all that stuff here too . . . even though being a total fruit cake my message and intent, is sometimes misunderstood.
  15. Now we are getting somewhere. Great thoughts.
    I definitely feared the word master would be a lightening rod.
    I'll add this because I think it applies. Zack Brown was being interviewed about the success of his band and their creativity. They won an award for best new artist, they were together for 13 years when this happened. He was talking about songs but its all art. Paraphrased, Anything good starts with love. Love of what you are doing but even more important love and support from your family.
    Like all of you I look forward to trying to make my next picture my best. And when I make the best one if it is of a person, I will probably say something like great just one more... a few times
  16. Just to add to the discussion, I'll give it a go from a different perspective.
    My career was as an Advertising Creative Director before retiring. In that time I had intense contact with literally hundreds perhaps thousands of creative people of all types ... including photographers. Some of whom I mentored. There were a number of commonalities I observed along the way.
    It is common to question yourself. The questions get tougher as you progress, because you have done so much in your lifetime. Yes, a love for what you do is of paramount importance ... but that's the price of admission just to stick it out long enough to get to the point you are now Shawn. It's the source of energy and desire that keeps the fire lit and the questions coming.
    In essence, the greater driver for self-improvement, to climb the next higher peak, to slam it into high gear, is the challenge of dissatisfaction. Where do I go from here?
    The charge forward to make "my next picture my best" is an empty one without some intelligence fueling it. You ask the questions because you are seeking an answer, and the goal of improving is not the strategy of how, it's the objective.
    Transitions are not easy. Even mild depression is considered the price of transition because it is often the marker of the dissatisfaction phase of creative growth.
    Get away from wedding photography and wedding photographers for a while. Read what painters, novelists, poets and musicians have experienced. Wedding photography isn't your creativity, it's the outlet for your creativity.
  17. Marc thank you for your insightful post. It's important for me to remember and your summation can be applied to so many fields.
    **insert creative pursuit here** isn't your creativity, it's the outlet for your creativity.​

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