If you're comfortable you're not doing it right

If you've ever seen live sports, a concert or any activity that requires great focus you'll notice the look of discomfort on the performers face. To make great art one needs to suffer a bit but it's that discomfort that sparks growth.

While no one believes that people like Ansel Adams or Bruce Lee were instantly masters at what they did, somehow we often think that the latest tools or technologies will make us a better artist when in fact the opposite is true.

Anything worth doing well is not easy. Simply put there are no shortcuts to creative growth. Sorry but gear, the latest plugin or gimmick being hawked at a trade show will not make you a better photographer. The tools might make your job easier but that's not going to help you have a breakthrough in your creative development.

If you want to be a better photographer you need to be uncomfortable. The problem is it's easy to become comfortable with our image making. Cameras are amazing today and with powerful tools, for post-production, it's easy to make an image look technically perfect but does that perfection make the image good?

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Do you only shoot raw? Try shooting JPEG for a day. Are you comfortable with a particular zoom lens? Shoot with a prime or if you don't have a prime don't zoom. Are you a portrait shooter? Explore landscapes for a week. Do you like shooting on the street but approaching the stranger scares you? Perhaps you should be actually talking to strangers and taking their portraits on the street.

 Making all this gear work seamlessly together was anything but comfortable but it was worth it.

Making all this gear work seamlessly together was anything but comfortable but it was worth it.

Because you know the answer to what scares you, you know what you need to do to grow as an artist. Do not be reasonable with your creative growth, take action and grow as an artist or sit on the sidelines and watch others grow. I will warn you though, you may grow resentful at others that are exploring and growing creatively while you sit on the sidelines and that is not a positive way to live as an artist or to live your life in general.