I have been doing this photography thing for a few years now, and while I do feel I have improved over the years, I feel that I am kind of in a rut now as far as my development. I guess I shouldn't complain considering I am almost 100% self taught, but I feel at this point, I should be even better than I currently am.
It's not like I haven't had some moments that have really boosted my ego over my abilities. I had the photo that almost made it on to the cover of a phone book if not for some legal issues. I had a picture be picked to be in a travel guide and while they told me they have hit some snags and the book might not come out until later this year, they still intend to release the book with my picture included. And then I had my photography exhibit where I not only received tons of kudos, I actually sold a decent amount of stuff too. This all feels good, but deep down, I feel like I am not improving enough.
The daily picture, now in my 4th year, keeps me active in taking photographs. But you can't imagine how hard it is to take a photograph of something different each and every day for this long. I do it as a challenge, but I don't think it really makes me any better. Yes, I still do take the occasional photo that wows me, but are they really THAT much better than any photo I have taken a year or even two years ago? I was REALLY happy with the photo shoot I did for someone a few weeks back and I feel it was my best one to date, but other than that one, I can't say any of the most recent shoots have been THAT much better than anything in the past.
So what now? Well, it's my fault that I haven't taken it to the next level. I haven't read books with tips. I have a couple that I have started, but never fully immersed myself in them. I guess I could take some classes, whether it be online or in person, but those are always going to take money and possibly time I don't have. I'll start with the books I have, but who knows when I will finish them. Like anything, if you want to get better at something, you have to make a commitment to it and that has been where I have been lacking, I guess. As always, this is still and will always remain a hobby for me. I do this for the fun of it and understand that I will never be as good as people who do this full time or even part time. I'm not trying to convince others that I am as good as those who do that because I know I haven't made that commitment to take it to that level. When I see someone post pictures they had done from a professional, I KNOW they are better than mine. Does it make me a little sad that I am not at that level? Sure, of course! But make no mistake about it, I don't have any misconceptions that my photos are at that level. I am not delusional to that fact. But that doesn't mean there is no room for improvement, even at the hobby level. And I need to consider taking those next steps.