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Getting Over “The Wall” of Photography: 3 Pro Photographers Share Their Advice

by Kristy Ellington
photo & video

Day two of Photo Week 2016 brought the heaviest of hitters in the photography industry to NYC and San Francisco. Three of those luminaries included sports photographer Al Bello, photojournalists Deanne Fitzmaurice and Ed Kashi, all of which hosted our Photo Week 2016 Panel and Critique offering advice for photographers on how to improve.

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If you haven’t participated in a critique before, critiques are important for all photographers (and artists in general) because they allow you to get a new perspective on your work that you may not have noticed before.

Afterwards, we gathered Al, Deanne, and Ed together for a Facebook Live Q&A.

We asked: For a lot of photographers, there’s a moment that we hit “a wall.” And that can happen when you look at other people’s work; It’s terrifying. What advice would you give to photographers when they’re hitting that point of frustration?

Here’s what each of them had to say.

Al Bello

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I go through that frustration every day! It’s going to be part of your life no matter what. Failure is a big part of this business, so be ready to fail. Learn from your mistakes and you gotta keep going.

It’s called “The Grind,” that’s what it’s called. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, but you just have to grind through it and try not to give up because giving up is when you say you can’t do it anymore.

Deanne Fitzmaurice

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For me, as cliche as this sounds, it’s about finding your passion. If you’re not really excited about photography or you’re unsure, it might be because you haven’t found the thing that really lights you up. The thing that’s the first thing you think about in the morning when you wake up, this project that you just have to go to so I think it’s a matter of finding that and sometimes it’s hard to do.

You may have to work on some other things until you find “that thing,” but once you’ve found that project that you’re passionate about, that drives you. It becomes easy to keep going out there and keep getting back at it. It just makes everything so much easier. Go for the things that get your heart going.

Ed Kashi

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On the one hand you have to be really tough and strong. You have to be prepared for a lot of rejection and disappointment, even if you’re really successful — that’s still part of it. If you’re going to do this, you need to find something that you love and something that you just can’t help but photograph. That is the way that you push through those walls and those disappointments.

And the beautiful thing about photography is, nobody can take it away from you. I understand it’s not a poor man’s game, but if you have a camera, and you have the basic means to take pictures, and you can find something that you’re passionate about and believe in, no matter what else happens with those pictures, nobody can take that away from you.

They can’t take the experience away, and which often, is one of the most powerful aspects of doing this and they can’t take those photographs away from you. I guarantee you, if you build it they will come. Anytime I have ever created anything on my own, something good comes of it.

Check out the full Facebook Live interview below.

 

Want to take your photography to the next level? Click over to Photo Week 2016 and learn from the best photographers in the industry. 

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Kristy Ellington

Head of content marketing and social media at Creativelive, business consultant at KristyEllington.com and whiskey-drinking adventurer at Travelstoked.