1. Believe that your art is worth the time to perfect. Too many people get intimidated by other photographers, feel too frustrated with the technology, or feel upset when they can’t come up with a masterpiece idea. Remember that everyone has been there at some point or another, and that it is a cycle. If you are not feeling intimated, you are not growing. If you do not push yourself, you can never learn. We all start somewhere, and where you are starting is the perfect place to grow into the artist of your dreams. You are not alone in wondering where your art will take you. Just remember that it is worth the time you put into it. Everyone starts somewhere.
2. Strive for perfection, but never reach it. If you feel that you have reached perfection, you will never grow past your current skill-set, whether it be conceptually or technically. There is always something new to learn. There is always room to grow. Never stop reaching.
3. Understand that there is not one road to success. Even the photographers that you look up to had to go around twists and turns and bends to get to where they are, and even those photographers feel like they are still climbing uphill to reach their goals. Your success is relative.
4. Write down what you want to achieve and then try to achieve it. Having goals and dreams will set you on a road that is made for you. Don’t be afraid to dream, and dream big.
5. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t know what you want yet. Experiment. Try new things. Learn different skills. Most importantly, ask yourself what makes you happy. What do you love to shoot? Start making lists that detail all of the words that define the type of photographs you enjoy taking. Teach yourself to learn.
6. There is never enough praise, and there are always too many insults. Try not to get into this mindset, though it is an easy trap to fall into. There will be people who like your photography and those who don’t. Learn that all input is valid, aside from malicious intentions. Remember that if you share your work, you invite those comments, the good and the bad. The good is no more valuable than the bad. It will all help you grow. Listening too much to the praise will stop your growth, and listening to much to the negativity will do the same. Listen only to your inner voice for guidance.
7. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that luck has anything to do with success. You have to work hard to get what you want, and it will be worth it in the end.
8. Figure out what motivates you and become aware of what inspires you. These are two of the key ingredients to success: motivation and inspiration. If you can stay inspired, you can continue to create and grow. If you can find motivation, you can put that inspiration into practice. Everyone finds inspiration and motivation in different ways. Figure out what your process is and quantify it, let it be something that is strategic. Figure out exercises you can do to find inspiration, or put in place a reward system for motivation. This will help you tremendously in case the extreme ecstasy of beginning photography wears off.
9. Never compare yourself to anyone else. Do not worry about the “competition”. Be your own critic and your own praise. Create what you love, not what someone else loves. The opinion that matters most is your own.
10. Be confident. If you exude confidence, other people will believe in you and your art too. It will get you farther than most other things in life. Confidence is contagious.