How to Stay Motivated in Photography

stay motivated

When friends or family tell her she can’t or shouldn’t do something, professional photographer Andrea Gingerich sets out to prove that she CAN. It’s one thing that keeps her motivated.

But she has a lot of other fun tricks to stay motivated, too.

This week, I interviewed her to find out what they are. Read on to see what she said…

Interview with Professional Photographer, Andrea Gingerich

Bonnie: Andrea, a lot of people call photography a hobby, but you call it your “job.” What do you like about being a photographer?

Andrea: Photography began as a creative hobby for me and developed into my second career… and now it’s my only career. It pays the bills, but that’s not my driving factor. And yes, it is my job, but it doesn’t feel like work. Stock photography does take dedication and hard work, especially in the beginning. But after you’ve found your niche and understand the process, it becomes a lot easier. It’s more rewarding, too. I also find that photography allows me to view my surroundings in a whole new way. There is always a photograph to be taken. It’s just a matter of seeing it.

Bonnie: Have you ever experienced a period of burn-out or a time when you felt un-motivated to continue with photography?

Andrea: Yes, quite a few times. For a while, I started to think that if I was going through these phases where I wasn’t doing photography, maybe I wasn’t in the right career. But over the years, I have learned that it happens to all creative individuals. For me, it seems to happen about once a year. It’s mostly in the winter, since I haven’t lived in climates where the weather is welcoming to get out and shoot. And even when I was doing studio photography, I found it difficult to come up with new ideas or even motivate myself to find models.

Bonnie: What do you do to stay motivated?

Andrea: Two of the most important things in my life are travel and photography. When I’m doing one, the other seems to follow suit.

So when I’ve stopped shooting, I’ve taken little adventures to try to spark the interest again. I love to get in my car for a long road trip to clear my mind. My destination is a new place that I’ve never seen — it’s almost through habit that I NEED to take a photo to preserve the memory.

Eventually, I end up getting really involved with the photo taking and my creative side seems to bloom once again. I keep a running list of places that I would like to visit that are within an hour’s drive and I try to go somewhere once a week. It could be somewhere close like a garden in the city or a hiking trail that I’ve never done. I find that the constant exposure to new things and the small adventures keep me motivated.

Of course, it’s also a fun way for me to see new places! Another thing that motivates me is when friends or family tell me that I can’t or shouldn’t do something. I tend to view it as a challenge to prove to myself that I can. In my opinion, if you really want to do something, DO IT.

I’ve found that when I haven’t accomplished my goals, the only person holding me back is myself. Listen to your gut instinct.

Bonnie: What kinds of motivation would you suggest for someone who’s getting started in stock?

Andrea: If you find the type of photography that makes you happy and gives you the gratification that you seek, it will come through in your photos. It will help you step up your game, too, and stand out from the rest.

You need to love what you do for it to last. If you love what you do, everything else will follow.

When I began in stock photography, I was trying to take images that I knew would sell. The best selling ones are the token “stocky” images… people in business suits, current themes like “green” living, holiday themes, and objects isolated on white, for example.

But I quickly learned that that kind of photography wasn’t for me. My lack of interest was coming through in my photos. I wanted to teach myself other types of photography, so I did exactly that.

It helped me to determine my interest and my niche. Now the photos that I like to take do well for me as stock, because they stand out from the rest.

Bonnie: Thanks, Andrea!

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