8 Ways to Make Time for your Photography
Today I am talking time! There just isn’t enough of it is there? But I am going to discuss 8 ways you can make time for your photography. And yes, I mean ‘make time’ not ‘find time’.
Firstly, an apology, because I said I would have this episode out on Friday but it took way longer to pull together than I expected. But better late than never right?
So I explained last time that in our facebook group we were discussing one of the main challenges surrounding learning photography. Namely – finding the time!
I asked the members who did manage to devote lots of time to their photography to share with the rest of us how they did this. I knew they were no less busy than us so why was it they were able to make time and we weren’t? There were some great responses and I have pulled them all together into 8 hints and tips. I hope they help you – I know they are going to help me!
1.Write down your goals and display them
Now this first one is my own contribution and I think it belongs at the number one spot because nothing great can be achieved without doing this first.
Deciding on goals, writing them down and displaying them is such a powerful thing! It is amazing how just the act of writing a goal down makes you much more likely to achieve it. I make goals all the time but it is the ones I write down and display which I have success with. The ones you think about which stay in your head – they get forgotten about don’t they?
But you must start with why. Before you write a single goal down I would encourage you to first of all think about, then write down WHY you want to learn photography. Knowing why will be a huge driving force for you. Maybe you want to start a photography business in the future or maybe you want to ignite a passion for something beyond work and family life. Whatever it is – write it down!
Now when I mention goals, I am talking about two types of goals. The first is the long term, big picture goal. Something like, ‘I want to become an award winning landscape photographer’ (I mean you’ve got to dream big right?) That one is important and it should go at the top but it doesn’t stop there. That goal on its own is not helpful. In fact it is likely to just seem completely unreachable and ‘pie in the sky’ and when something seems that way it is easy to give up on. So no, that is just the beginning. After that you MUST break it down.
What are you going to do each month to achieve that goal. Start with the first month and write down just one or two mini goals to get you started. Make sure they are extremely specific and extremely realistic. Because if they are too adventurous you probably won’t achieve them and then you will feel like a failure. Not a good start really is it?
Let’s say you are a beginner. In month one you might write down;
1. I will learn about and understand the exposure triangle
2. I will learn how to adjust my aperture, shutter speed and ISO
That is so do-able. If you manage more – great! You will feel good about yourself and will be in a good frame of mind to continue.
So honestly, take ten minutes just to give yourself some goals to strive for. There is power in this I swear!
2. Take your camera everywhere.
Rich Proctor and Lorraine Burke both said they take their cameras everywhere with them. They have made it a habit. By doing this they know they always have their camera to hand if they see something worth capturing and it encourages them to actively look for something worth capturing. Rich stated that since doing this he now realises that opportunities for great photos are everywhere if he just looks for them.
And if you are wondering how long it takes to form a habit I am reliably informed (by google) that it is about two months! So, in theory, if you try to remember to take your camera everywhere for two months it will then become part of what you do before leaving the house.
Now you might be thinking that your camera is a bit big and heavy to take with you all the time. I get it. I have a little CSC, a Fuji x-pro, and I take it out and about with me instead of my DSLR because it weighs far less! But most entry-level DSLRs are not nearly so heavy. They are reasonably portable, especially if you have a good bag…
Jen Scott is another member of the Tea Break Tog facebook community who takes her camera everywhere. She said this became much easier when she spent her birthday money on a very beautiful Kelly Moore camera bag which doubles as a handbag. This is a great way to make sure your camera accompanies you everywhere. I mean tell me a lady who leaves the house without her handbag? And Gents don’t despair – Kelly Moore makes bags for you too 😉
3. Start a Project 365
The very same Jen Scott is one of a few members of the group who are undertaking a Project 365 which is taking a photograph every single day for a full year. Jen, Gemma Cathcart, Jenni Reid, Nic Sharp, Vicki White all started in January and have been supporting and encouraging each other every step of the way.
This might seem like a big undertaking and I have to be honest. I have attempted it twice and failed miserably. I think I might be better placed now to try again because I am not so obsessed with perfection these days. I am more than willing to take iPhone photos and accept major imperfections for the sake of capturing a special moment. I am seriously considering trying again next month – I will keep you posted!
So why should you do a Project 365? Practice is of course the obvious reason. You will progress so quickly doing this. But this is also the perfect way to build photography into your everyday life. Hopefully by the time the project was over you might not be taking a photo every day but you will certainly be taking more than you did before. It also encourages you to look for a photograph in even the simplest of things. The kids watching tv, or just the way a water droplet is sitting on a leaf.
If you want to know more about Project 365 visit www.365project.org to find out more.
4. Mix your photography with something you do every day
Dave Simpson responded saying he gets up really early and mixes his photography with something he does every day anyway which is walking his dog. Such a simple but effective way of making sure you get regular practice.
Michael Carver said that he mixes his photography with interacting with his children. He takes his camera along on all their walks and outings and he is even teaching them both bits and pieces along the way. Being with our children is something we all make time for so involving photography in that time just makes sense doesn’t it?
5. Weed out your time sucks!
Caron Sandeman responded to my question by saying that she hasn’t watched tv since taking up photography. She has found a passion and tv is not so appealing any more.
Now don’t get defensive here ok? But if you were completely honest with yourself, how many hours per week do you reckon you waste on ‘time sucks’? When I say time sucks I mean activities which are totally unproductive. They are a waste of time and give you nothing of benefit.
The one that sticks out here is browsing through social media. Ok so here and there you might come across a really inspirational blog post or something else worthwhile but for the most part you are looking at photographs of people’s dinner or other mundane nonsense. I hate getting sucked into my facebook feed. I always feel so disgusted with myself afterwards for spending so much time on that when I could have done something more worthwhile.
You could say that watching tv is a time suck. Yes I know it is what we do to relax. It requires no brain power and it is appealing when we are tired. I get it. I am not saying that you should stop watching tv and spend that time developing your photography. I am just saying that you could reduce the time spent watching tv.
Have a think about the things you do each day which are eating your time with no real benefits. Write them down or keep a diary. Some of that time could go towards your photography!
6. Ignore the housework and start saying NO!
I love that Janis Hedley’s response to the question of time was that she doesn’t have time for photography but she makes time. She says her grass is a little longer and her ironing pile is a little taller but this has allowed her to spend more time on her passion.
Let’s face it, no one will die if you don’t vacuum the carpets or wash the car today. Make a note of all the things you could get away with doing less of. I’m not saying you should live in squalor but there is a happy medium to be struck I am sure!
On a similar note – who could you delegate tasks to? Think of all the tasks you do which don’t need to be done by you. Who could help you with them? And then just ask! This can be both at work and at home!
Also – start saying no to stuff! You don’t need to say yes every time someone asks you to do something. Be selfish sometimes. Say no! It won’t kill you I promise.
You’ll be amazed how much time you can salvage here.
7. Value the activity
How valuable is photography to you? Really think about this for a minute. Another point that Michael Carver made was that when we say we don’t have time for something we are really saying that we don’t value the activity.
This was quite poignant for me and I will tell you why. I have been trying to get this podcast up and running for a while now. It has been really quite difficult. I have a full time photography business with employees. I have two young children. We are renovating our house. I kept finding myself saying that I just didn’t have the time to do a podcast that week. Other stuff was being put to the top of the list. Then I went to the Content Marketing Academy in Edinburgh earlier this month (an amazing event by the way) and the keynote speaker, Marcus Sheridan, said exactly what Michael said. He said if we kept saying that we didn’t have time to podcast or we didn’t have time to blog then what we were really saying was that we did not value them. They weren’t important enough.
That was a big moment for me. It was hard to accept in some ways. It is easy to get defensive when someone says something like that to you. But the truth is that when we place a high value on something we WILL find time for it. I reflected on how important the podcast was to me and decided that I valued it very highly indeed. I have been making time for it ever since and long may that continue.
So have a think – how much do you value photography?
8. Reflect on your success
So important! God we are all so bad at this aren’t we? No matter what – you have to stay positive! Any practice is good practice. If you are annoyed with yourself for not practicing enough or not progressing as much as you would like then you will demotivate yourself. You will stop making time for your photography because your photography is making you feel bad. Why would you spend your precious time on something that makes you feel bad?
Keep reflecting on how far you’ve come. It is often said that the only photographer you should compare yourself to is yourself, one year ago. If you are better than you were then be proud! When you feel proud of yourself you feel really great – and feeling really great means you are going to make more and more time for that thing that made you feel that way. Win win!
“The only photographer you should compare yourself to is yourself, one year ago.”
So there you have it. The Tea Break Togs’ guide to making time for your photography! Do you have any other tips? If you do then we would love to hear them! Get in touch on twitter or join the facebook community and get involved in some conversation.
I will be back in a few days talking about metering the light again. If you have been practicing this skill then please do tune in because I am going to tackle a big issue!