Advice For Becoming An X

Great Advice

I feel terrible that I forgot where I got this, but Jessica Ivins’s “My Advice for Becoming a UX Designer” is great advice for almost any creative pursuit. Photographer? Graphic designer? Writer? Sculptor? It all applies.

Do you have the aptitude? Join a community. Learn more. Get great advice. Make more stuff.

Looking at that list, it’s good advice for any career or hobby.


Ben Sasso’s Creative Manifesto

Super enthusiastic photographer Ben Sasso has a list of things to kick-start your creativity, including this “Know Your Craft” gem:

Study the greats that came before you. Don’t just look at the greats, actually study them. What makes their work stand out among the rest? How do they use light in interesting ways? How do you feel when you look at their images and what’s making you feel that way? Know their work so you can know more about your own.

Sasso’s advice echoes a lot of the Creativity Racket™ out there (experiment, be yourself, be original, etc.), but it’s a nice reminder that we all have quibbles and quirks, and that’s okay.

His “it’s okay to take a second for yourself during a shoot” note is especially apt for those of us that get wound up or nervous during shoots.

Take A Break

Don't feel bad about taking a break from photography.

Such good advice from Eric Kim:

If you’re bored of photography, don’t feel inspiration, or feeling lost– take a break. Discover new artistic avenues, and replenish your creative fields.

Feeling like you have to take a photo every single day? Don’t.

This runs counter to a lot of advice out there. And there’s the idea of a 365 project, which Kim says often ends up feeling like a chore.

I’ve felt the pressure first-hand, and the lack of gumption to get out there and shoot—especially after my big portrait project last fall—so I took some time off. I’m taking breaks from Instagram here and there, too.

The kicker to getting over the guilt of taking a break. That’s what I’ve learned to accept lately.

Why feel bad about not doing something that’s totally voluntary anyway?

Three Things

Three Things

Doesn’t get much more simple than this:

Wanna be a better photographer? The simple answer is: shoot every single day, study the work of other photographers, and try your darndest to find something new to say in your work.


I struggle with that first bit the most. It’s so hard to get out and shoot on a regular basis.

And “study the work,” not “mindlessly consume and copy.” Get the difference?

That advice appeals to the academic in me. Seeing the world as the “great” photographers saw it is a quick to realize how much farther I have to go, and what I do and don’t enjoy.

The part that surprised me was the question about clichés. Most of the photography editors said there’s no such thing.

So much good stuff throughout this roundup.

Eric Kim: “To find your style in photography is to find who you are as a human being. What interests you in life?”

Laura Austin: “Style is about authenticity.”

Eric Anderson: “Finding your style comes with a lot of practice and being true to yourself.”

Take On City Hall

Take On City Hall

[Photography] is not a popularity contest; it’s creating something that means something.

Ted Forbes says that no one cares about your photographs. The world doesn’t need more photos, or paintings, or songs – we have plenty, thanks.

What does matter? Projects. Difference-making, not-easy work.

Take pretty shots, sure. Just understand no one cares about them. Nor should they.

But when you tackle projects that say something, or take on a big issue, you’re doing the work that a good journalist can do. Humanity needs stuff that matters.

Take on City Hall, whatever that means to you.

What You Might Build

Turn off those notifications, turn your phone over, turn on your favorite music, stare at your blank slate and consider what you might build.

The Builder’s High – Rands in Repose

This is increasingly why I’m spending less and less time on certain social media sites. Why consume others’ experiences when you can be busy making your own?

I like to make things. I like to be busy, and creative, and knee-deep in a photo or writing project.