Let’s start with a question: How many of your own photos do you have hanging around your home or your office? If the answer is zero, you need to change something. Today, I’d like to explore the relationship that you have with your photography. It’s important that you are a fan of your own work. In fact, I believe that you should be your own best fan. This all sounds egotistical, but it’s really a path to creating your best work.
Let me explain my angle. If you aren’t the biggest fan of your own work, then you need to figure out how to be. I’m not saying that you need to force yourself to enjoy your work. What I’m really saying is that if you don’t enjoy your work, it’s not a problem with your attitude. It’s a problem with your work. Rather, it sounds like you’re creating work to please an audience instead of trying to please yourself. You can’t be passionate – I mean truly passionate – about your work if you aren’t creating it for yourself.
In this day and age, it’s difficult to not be sidetracked by the popularity contest. On Flickr, on Facebook or whatever your social media crutch, it’s easy to want for more likes, or more views or what-have-you. It distracts us from our work and sends us down a path looking for the popular angle, as opposed to where we should be headed. It’s not that your popular works are necessarily bad. But you should first be thinking about if it pleases you, or if it makes you happy to create it. You need to make sure you keep your passion. And that starts with making sure you’re catering to your own desires.
I’m a firm believer that your audience eventually finds you. Sometimes it takes a long while. But once it finds you, your audience tends to hang around. See it’s a challenge to cater to the popularity contest. Your work will be inconsistent and not nearly as strong. But when you’re focused on your own tastes, it’s easy to stay the course and grow in a specific direction. Your audience well recognize that, and they will linger to see how you progress. So ditch the popularity contest. Post the work you like for yourself, and keep yourself happy. You can be unhappy with a large and ever-changing crowd. Or you can be happy with a small but dedicated audience.