Why: Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone as a Photographer

Why is it so difficult to practice photography that fascinates the viewer? The answer is simple. The art of photography requires many personal qualities, which we have described in this article. It also requires a vast amount of time and perseverance.

To create interesting photos, a photographer must dare to step out of his comfort zone and learn to experience that which may be uncomfortable.

Landscape photo of the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia.
This photo of the landscapes of the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia was made in difficult conditions. Its success is linked to the emotions we felt at the time of shooting.

Practicing Interesting Photography is Similar to Writing in a Foreign Language

Being able to photograph adeptly is like writing a few pages of a short story, novel, or an essay. Simply understanding the rules of spelling is not enough to succeed. Knowing the rules of conjugations is not enough. Applying grammatical rules is not enough. Concentrating on how to write words on paper or with a computer software is not enough. One must comprehend all the writers who can compose correctly and accurately to realize that the ability to write well is more than just technique.

For photography, it's the same thing. Knowing how to press the trigger button or understanding the camera functions is insufficient for making interesting photographs.

To create meaningful photographs, you must learn the process of how to “write” the photo. It's a very long apprenticeship for some individuals, myself included.

You must have encountered many positive and negative experiences to be able to display emotions or to transmit messages through photography. Without this experience, the photographs remain flat, void of interest. One must traverse the mountains and valleys of life to display it realistically. I do not imply that this creation of works must be accomplished through painful experiences. I am merely speaking generally. Nor am I referring to those sensations you encounter when listening or watching media. I am honestly speaking about personal experiences that touch the deepest center of our being.

I truly believe that to create good photos, you must have the guts to live life fully and vivaciously.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Many photographers have experienced a straightforward life of joy with few overwhelming pitfalls. This was my case for a very long time. I have been fortunate.

These individuals, when they try to create unique photographs, seem to only replicate what they have seen or heard. They fail to speak with their heart. They are in what I call their “comfort zone”.

This comfort zone can be compared to a cocoon that we use to be sheltered from the real world. We feel confident because we know where we are going, and everything is planned smoothly. No event can jostle our progression of events. As soon as a person moves into their comfort zone, they feel at ease. They believe that they can maintain control over their own actions and emotions. They do not experience any stress or anxiety.

Living in the comfort zone confines the individual to a neutral position in which all ideas are shaped by others. A person who lives in the comfort zone is only following in the footsteps of others.

In today's world, experiencing strong emotions and yet living in your comfort zone occurs through reading trendy magazines, listening to the radio, watching TV, and getting information via the mass media that broadcast similar information because they stem from the same sources.

Living in the comfort zone is living a daily life within a world of illusions where reality has no place.

A photographer who wants to write his photographs in an interesting and original way with strong emotions and impactful messages must choose. He must choose to step out of his comfort zone and step into reality, regardless of how timid he may be. This will allow him to be different from others, causing his works to stand apart.

The Comfort Zone is Evolving into a Zone of Mediocrity

When a photographer moves into his comfort zone, he does not question himself. He is content to reproduce his own works or the works of others.

The search for excellence is looking for difference. To not progress in his photographic research is to become bored and languid.

The evolution of his comfort zone is stagnated. He lies to himself, saying that evolution within his comfort zone would be the death of his success. It is true that you must be demanding in those goals you want to achieve.

What Defines the Comfort Zone for Photography?

The comfort zone for a photographer who creates interesting photographers is essential. When the photographer is doing everything he can to produce a masterpiece in a short period of time, these intense emotional periods often result in works that are breathtaking to the viewer. To the photographer, however, such works spark anxiety and exhaustion, for he knows how difficult the process was. We create photos with a camera, but we cannot extend past our limits during the creative process because the energy spent to achieve such shots is too much. There is not enough energy for editing, development, printing and framing all at once. This first phase of creation is essential because it will provide the material for the works, but it is so energy-consuming that we are unable to continue the creation process immediately. We must give ourselves some time before we begin editing. After this period spent on the field, where the photographer gave everything he had, it is important for him to return to the comfort zone where stress and anxiety are non-existent. The photographer can begin a period of introspection. He can continue his research on the project he started on the field. He can then consider how he will evolve his artistic activity. The goal of being in his comfort zone is to find that peace which is necessary to begin editing and complete an artistic photo project. If a photographer is still in the field surviving only from adrenaline, then he cannot create interesting works. Indeed, he will not have the energy that results from introspective research, encouraging the creation of true artistic photographs. Everyone has their own comfort zone. Each person must understand their own limits and know how to finish what they started. Personally, my comfort zone is when I'm at home and I cut off all means of communication. I read. I listen to music. I watch movies. I relax at home for a few days. Experiences, whether joyful or sad, provoke emotions that are felt in real situations. The creator of artistic photographs implements these emotions when he creates his photographs. As we have described in this article, photographic writing is a reality. It allows the artist to translate lived experiences and emotions into images. This happens when the photographer steps out of his comfort zone. And yet, this is not enough. It is necessary to define a language through which we can express ourselves to each person who views our photos. This universal language reveals the meaning of each message illustrated by a photograph.

Finally

The comfort zone for a photographer should only be used to relax and find oneself again. It is an area of stagnation from which you must step away from in order to keep moving forward in the creative process.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is an uncomfortable experience. However, it is the only way to create beautiful and interesting photographs. For anyone to create artistically, he or she must become vulnerable and experience the unknown.

 

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