Shoot Your Way Out of Your Comfort Zone

by | Apr 8, 2021

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

“The poor boy changes clothes, And puts on after-shave, To compensate for his ordinary shoes…”—Paul Simon

Paul Simon once said that talent evolves, changes and grows over time. Take his own career, for example, “Sound of Silence” doesn’t sound anything like “Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes.” I think this applies to photographers as well.

Once you reach a certain level of photographic skill it seems that we all have a tendency to become complacent and keep shooting the same kind of image over and over again. And I’m as guilty of this as anyone. (If you have time, please read my post entitled It’s Simply a Matter of Style that addresses some aspects of this phenomenon.)

And why not? You know how to make those images and every time you shoot a new one the people on the on-line forums and at your camera club say that you’re a master.

When I was a student at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, one of my professors gave us an assignment to photograph “people we know and people we didn’t know.” At that time I wasn’t a people photographer and the thought of photographing strangers terrified me. But I gave it a shot because it forced me out of my comfort zone. Was I successful with that assignment? I’m not so sure but I tried and it ended up helping me many years later when I dove into glamour photography whie writing Part-Time Glamour Photography: Full-Time Income.

That’s why I suggest that you Try Something Different. If you’re a landscape photographer, go downtown or a to busy city location and do some street or urban landscape photography. Shoot a few infrared images or maybe give HDR photography a try. Get inspired and some ideas by looking at work by one of the masters such as Joel Meyerowitz. If you’re a people photographer, try photographing dogs getting inspiration from shooters such as Elliott Erwitt. Look at other photographers’ work in the books I’ve linked to and force yourself to step outside your favorite genre and make other kinds of pictures.

I expect that something amazing will happen, if only slowly at first; Your photographs will get better and better and you’ll also start to enjoy the new experiences you’re having.

Along with photographer Barry Staver, I’m co-author of Better Available Light Digital Photography that’s available from Amazon for $21.43 prices with used copies starting at giveaway prices—around five bucks, as I write this, which may be cheaper than your morning Starbucks coffee.