Encouraging Each Other To Be Better
When you first go through bootcamp in the NAVY, you have to run 1.5 miles as fast as you can. I started out running it in 15 minutes.... pretty slow. In fact, I was at the end of the first couple of races we ran. There was another guy struggling along with me and we decided early on to become buddies and practice running together. He pushed me to work harder every race and I did the same for him. For 5 weeks we ran side by side, pushing each other to get faster. By the end of bootcamp, we were 2 of the fastest runners in bootcamp running our 1.5 miles at an average time of 7:55.
I tell this story, because you have to start somewhere in whatever you do. Photography is an amazing job where you can be as creative as you dream. The sky is the limits when you first pick up that camera and start shooting the things you love, but you have to be able to push yourself further or you're gonna end up shooting the same things over and over. There are some people out there that can push themselves, but most of us need someone to help us along whatever journey we are on.
That's why I believe in creative competition so much. If you've ever heard me speak before, it's one of the things I'm most passionate about! I believe in it, because I've seen it work, but you have to have a good attitude about what you're doing in order for it to be effective. Competition amongst Photographers can get a little bitter sometimes, but it doesn't have to be that way. If you see someone posting an image or a thought that you don't agree with, don't tear it apart. Instead, try to look for the good in it! On the flip side, if you see an image you love, don't shoot the exact same thing. Put your own little twist on it and make it your own!
Here's an example to hopefully explain what I'm talking about. My friend Jeremy Cowart does some amazing Pinterest boards that I'll check out from time to time. A couple days before a wedding last year, I came across this picture that he had pinned.
I thought to myself, if I could ever get a Bride to do something like that, it would be awesome! A few weeks later I shot a wedding with a willing Bride and Groom! Here is the picture I ended up capturing.
I don't know if I ever would have thought about this shot on my own. You can clearly see how it's similar, but it's also completely different at the same time.
Creative competition should push you to be better at whatever it is you're doing! It usually works best when two or three people are intentional at pushing the limits of what's possible, but if you're willing to push yourself, you can find your inspiration in everything around you.
If you love what you're doing, but you're just not growing at your craft, try to find someone to enjoy the ride with! You may be in last place right now, but when you have someone running next to you, you're going to get faster and better at whatever it is you love doing!
Just make sure you're growing in the right direction, because the more you grow, the deeper and stronger your roots get, making it harder every day to go in the direction you're meant to go ;)