Just Spinning Wheels

PixelRabbit

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I'm not sure exactly where this post will go but I know exactly where it's starting, I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels.

So I'm having one of "those" days so perhaps that has something to do with my extra frustration today but it's been building for a while now, today I'm just frustrated enough to not care if I get lambasted for posting this if it ultimately gives me direction.

So like I said I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels, taking pictures and posting them here and on FB, getting feedback, learning bits I'm still missing then moving on to the next picture... rinse... repeat.

More and more I'm getting frustrated with this loop I've created and I want (to do) more. Every time I try to wrap my head around what more I can do with my photographs I get overwhelmed and have no clue where or whether to start. I think it would be easier if I shot people, I can see the direction to take there and I've even considered learning so I at least had a jumping off point but my heart just isn't in shooting people at this point so that is just a recipe for disaster IMHO.

Then the critic in me chimes in and says I'm insane, I'm a noob and what gives me the idea that my stuff belongs anywhere other than my own personal collection and I have no clue where to begin regardless so round and round we go.

I have just printed off a few tests for larger prints... again...but I am dragging my heels on that too... again... I fear these tests which turned out ok will just get tacked to the wall like the last set of test prints and I will carry on my loop, round and round we go.

And the frustration builds, am I jumping the gun? Am I beating myself up for something that shouldn't even be on my radar yet because I have so much left to learn? I envy anyone who has the balls to put themselves out there, like really out there, hell even the hordes of FB photographers have one up on me on this count, they at least have the dedication to put it all together and I just can't seem to even figure out whether to start and even if I did how...

Then I read the countless threads that come up here about charging and selling etc... from people putting the cart in front of the horse and I guess in a way I'm hoping that's not my case but I fear it is and I know you guys will keep me honest with myself.

Well I've sat here after free writing that to see what came out and I don't even know what else to say here, what to ask, etc... it appears this turned into a bit of a vent and whine all rolled into one. I'm not going to go back and change or edit it, I'm going to leave it as it is and hope perhaps some wise words will come from you guys to help me get past this frustration one way or another...
 

tirediron

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So, is this a case of, "You feel you should start making money at this, but don't know how/aren't sure if you're ready?", or "it's boring around here and I don't have anything interesting to shoot?"
 

squirrels

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While you are waiting for words of wisdom: :hug::
 

Derrel

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Whoa,whoa,whoa...let's back up here a bit. First off, I've watched your progress here on TPF, and let me say that your progress has been very rapid compared to the rate that many people suffered through for hundreds of years. Prior to the advent of digital imaging and its "free developing" and "free film", people learned photography through an expensive and time consuming process of trial and error, along with learning and studying articles and books. Today, we can literally SEE professional shooters setting up shots, and discussing their shoots, in free YouTube videos.

Putting the cart in front of the horse has indeed become the norm in the recent years, ever since d-slr prices dipped below $1,000. Prior to the original Rebel and the Nikon D70, the first two sub-$1k d-slr cameras, the marketplace was made up mostly of "old hands". Today--not so much.

Your post is a bit rambling, a bit of a vent and a whine, as you called it, but I think it's because you have something that many people do not have. You dear lady, are what I call "a shooter". As I put it, these days, "Hell,everybody these days is a photographer". But you, you are "a shooter". Shooters are always shooting, always thinking about the next thing they can point their camera at. Being a shooter and being a photographer are different things. Entirely. There are a zillion photographers. They are everywhere. But shooters are much,much less commonly found.

I think shooters are prone to obsessive, and excessive extremes. They feel bad when things are not progressing. And they sometimes forget that the race is not always won by the swiftest runner. Face it--you are still relatively new to the photo game. Rapid skill growth, then a plateauing, then practicing and absorbing the lessons, then another period of rapid growth, followed by another plateau...that is the way trades and crafts are learned, for the most part. Skill-building is not a straight, upward line. After a while, making progress becomes more-difficult. As one's skill level gets higher, it becomes more challenging to improve one's "game". I think perhaps you're unaware of just how FAR you have come, and how FAST.
 

deeky

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I can sympathize on feeling like you are in a rut of a loop. I think what has worked to pull me out of that is to go out and find a specific shot and picture the image I want in my head. Then I shoot it and go home to upload/edit. I have probably challenged myself to the point where it doesn't come out the way I wanted the first time. So I go back and reshoot, trying to change what I need to get the image I want. And then I may have to do it all yet again.

By shooting the same image more than once, I find it easier to learn and apply, as well as see my progression through the different shots. Seems to have pulled me out of the occasional rut.
 
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PixelRabbit

PixelRabbit

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Just a quick post until after dinner to clarify my meandering post a bit, what to shoot isn't the problem but rather what to do with some of what I have shot and will shoot. Right now it gets posted to Flickr and FB and archived here at home. Do I continue that loop that I'm starting to loathe or do I start looking at moving forward now, trying to put my stuff really out there whether it is just on display or to try to sell?
 

runnah

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Just a quick post until after dinner to clarify my meandering post a bit, what to shoot isn't the problem but rather what to do with some of what I have shot and will shoot. Right now it gets posted to Flickr and FB and archived here at home. Do I continue that loop that I'm starting to loathe or do I start looking at moving forward now, trying to put my stuff really out there whether it is just on display or to try to sell?

To what end?

Are you trying to make some cash or would the purchase of your photos by strangers be a way to validate yourself as a photographer?
 

Gavjenks

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It's not that hard to take the first steps to monetizing your work, if that's what you want. Building up a real client base and making serious money that you could live off of, etc. IS very hard, but not the initial testing of the waters.

For portrait photography, it's especially easy: put (small and or tasetfully and subtly watermarked...) portfolios on facebook or better yet, a dedicated website linked to from places like facebook. Then advertise time for print sessions or cheap paid sessions (depending on how impressive you think your portfolio is), and see who bites. Maybe even proactively advertise to friends who you know are getting married or graduating, etc. who might want photos (you don't have to shoot a whole wedding by yourself. You could just do an engagement photo session, for example). As your portfolio gets more impressive, up the prices, put more effort into marketing, and so on and so forth. Or conversely, if nobody bites at all, lower your prices, or even do some street photography work to build a people portfolio without having to have actual clients.

For non-portrait photography, it's a little harder. Certainly you would still want to advertise via facebook / website, but that might not be good enough for non-portraiture. To supplement this, you could offer prints to local restaurants or coffee shops to decorate and be for sale (the bar is not terribly high there, usually, and it tends to be more landscapes and abstracts and things). You could also rent a table at a nearby farmer's market and try to sell some prints. This is likely to be especially effective if you do local-interest stuff like landscapes of local natural spaces, landmark buildings and old bridges, that sort of thing. Also, both of these cost money up front, which may not be appealing to you. Or you could try your hand at stock photography. This is free to get into, but it is also pretty different from normal fine art photography, in that you often are expected to leave space for ad copy, need to come up with good concepts that speak strong statements in images that publishers would want, etc. Your existing portfolio may not be very helpful, making this a larger investment in terms of time and re-learning before you actually make any money.

In both cases, you could also attempt to piggyback off of existing photographers or businesses in either an apprenticeship role (e.g. second shooting at a wedding) or in a partnership role (e.g., starting or entering into an existing business with a friend who has complementary interests to yours, such as an interior designer or a realtor)
 
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The_Traveler

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Once you start wanting to sell, you inevitably will start thinking about what will sell best.
When people ask you to take pictures so they can buy them, they will want you to take the pictures they want to see.

Is that what you want to drive your photography?

I am always torn between wanting the ego strokes of having people give me money for what I make and the fear of being changed by that.
I am probably in a different situation from you in many different ways.

Would you rather create art or make money?
 
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PixelRabbit

PixelRabbit

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Thanks everyone for your replies so far, there is a lot of food for thought so I'm going to sleep on it and take time to reply tomorrow.
 

sleist

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You bought a car, learned to drive, packed your bags, and set out on the road.
If you're frustrated because you're driving in circles, it's because you seem to have forgotten to choose a destination.
Not sure anyone but you can tell you where you want to go.
Certainly no one can tell you how to get someplace you haven't decided you want to go yet.
 

runnah

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You bought a car, learned to drive, packed your bags, and set out on the road.
If you're frustrated because you're driving in circles, it's because you seem to have forgotten to choose a destination.
Not sure anyone but you can tell you where you want to go.
Certainly no one can tell you how to get someplace you haven't decided you want to go yet.

You have to let the clutch of life out smoother or you're going to spin the tires of discontent!
 

Steve5D

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Then the critic in me chimes in and says I'm insane, I'm a noob and what gives me the idea that my stuff belongs anywhere other than my own personal collection...

You need to stop doing that.

Let someone else decide if your work belongs somewhere. If you make that decision, you're shooting yourself in the foot. You're giving up the race before the gun goes off.

Stop it...
 
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PixelRabbit

PixelRabbit

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Whoa, ok this is not the replies I expected, I suppose in a way I was hoping you all would tell me I'm nuts and to cool my heels, you guys are hitting a lot of nerves here that I didn't realize were contributing to my frustration. I appreciate each and every reply even if they are sending me to places I don't want to/am scared? to go. I'm going to take more time before I reply.
 

runnah

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Whoa, ok this is not the replies I expected, I suppose in a way I was hoping you all would tell me I'm nuts and to cool my heels, you guys are hitting a lot of nerves here that I didn't realize were contributing to my frustration. I appreciate each and every reply even if they are sending me to places I don't want to/am scared? to go. I'm going to take more time before I reply.

You're nuts, cool your heels.
 

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