I took nearly a year off from creating artwork to focus my efforts on learning more about photography.

In a nutshell, here is what I’ve learned so far …

  • No one needs to see my photos. Still, I feel the need to put it all out there, even if it never gets seen by anyone else.
  • Photography is a journey without an end.
  • I should focus on creating photos that please me versus what (I think) someone else might think.
  • No one will see what I see, no matter how hard I try. Still, that shouldn’t keep me from trying.
  • Shooting macro is fun and cool and maybe my favorite kind of photography, but it’s not as easy as some make it out to be.
  • No one will likely ever sit and look at one of my photos for more than a second or two.
  • Look to capture moments that mean something to me.
  • Gear doesn’t matter much, and having a nice camera doesn’t make me a photographer.
  • I need to sell some of my gear.
  • It’s ok to be cliché as long as I’m learning and progressing towards finding my voice. Whatever that is.
  • Search for beauty in everything. It’s there…somewhere.
  • When I think of a photo I’d like to make, I try to meticulously think through every aspect of taking the photo…from the time of day to my approach/angle, and the camera settings that I think would be best (and this helps).
  • I need to get out more.
  • Slow down, breathe, and pay attention.
  • It’s hard to compensate for bad light.
  • Self-portraits are the easiest…and hardest photos to take.
  • I seem to take better photos when I’m mindful of reducing my post-processing time.
  • There’s a fine line between adjusting a photo and photo manipulation. And it doesn’t matter if I cross it or not.
  • I could never take photos for money.
  • Being bored, frustrated, uncomfortable, or uninspired are signals that I need to push myself to learn and go further.
  • You can have a gut feeling and an eye for good composition, but you shouldn’t always trust it. Then again, composition rules are important to be mindful of, but you don’t always have to follow them.
  • I’ve learned more about setting up my camera, the “exposure triangle,” and composition through experimentation than in books and videos.
  • Saving only the photos that are meaningful to me helps to keep my sanity.
  • Printing out the photos that mean the most to me and keeping them in a place that I can see them often make me feel good.
  • If I plan the kind of photo I want to take in my mind’s eye, it helps.
  • Fight against the short-lived instant gratification that social media promises.
  • Looking through the years of my old photos gives me some insight into what turns me on the most.
  • Writing a blog about what I’ve learned about photography over the past several months is much harder than you might think.
  • I have just about as much fun categorizing my photos as taking them.
  • Taking photos is more fun when doing it alone.
  • Don’t worry about fitting in. It’s too painful. And it’s distracting.
  • Real joy comes from the process of immortalizing a moment that would have otherwise been lost or overlooked.
  • The number of cigarette butts in my pocket correlates to the number of photos I’ve taken.
  • I should share what I know and what I’ve learned. I’m working on figuring out how best to do that.

I’m still learning, and always will be.

I’m grateful to have these virtual mentors that are unwittingly helping me along on my journey: