Photography and Writing: You Learn by Doing

Sable and white collie, indoor, low, natural light

Writing and photography are two of my biggest passions in life – along with animal rehab and adoption.

But let’s not go down too many rabbit holes at once.

Gull on dirty spring snow, overcast day

Recently I was discussing photography with a young person and they said, while they enjoyed taking pictures, they didn’t do so often because they weren’t good at it. This is the same bind that many writers get into – I don’t write more because I’m not as good at it as I want to be.

Swan and geese on early spring lake, sunny day

People! None of us are born great, we achieve [largely moderate] success by doing, learning, and doing more. Trust me – I researched and wrote a whole dissertation on this topic!

Storefront in low-light, pre-dawn

Recently I treated myself to a new camera. I hadn’t been doing much photography lately because of frustrations with my old camera; we’ve been together decades and though we’re not divorcing, we did agree it was time to bring someone new into the relationship.

Quincy Mine lift, Hancock MI,
bright sun reflecting on snow

This new camera is mirrorless [internal element that reduces weight] and I’m in love again. But there’s a steep learning curve for new equipment with vastly different functions. In order to learn, I have to go out and take a lot of very average or trashy photos. Each picture teaches me something and rather than frustration, I feel happiness that there are so many things I’m still capable of learning. Or at least experiencing.

Low light bridge photo;
needed a tripod and didn’t have one with me

Embrace new opportunities! Admittedly, I’m the last person to suggest we should always be embracing the new. I need routine. I’m clinically OCD, and even with medication, my need for order is at best managed. I get my brain to accept challenges by considering them educational opportunities. Undoubtedly you’ll need to find your own way to embrace the new, the less than perfect, the practice sessions that are necessary to get better at any endeavor.

Brick Building; mixed clouds and sun

None of us, however, can get really good at anything – writing, photography, teaching, dog training etc., without first being really average, maybe even mediocre. It isn’t where you start out that’s going to decide things, it is how much time and practice you’re willing to put in. Stick-to-it-ness accomplishes as much or more than raw talent and I’ve been around long enough to see that play out from the art community to academics and industry.

Succulent plant
Same succulent, different lens setting

Author: christyoslund

Writer of non-fiction focused on disability services/studies; fiction writing that often incorporates the p.o.v. of disabled characters.

2 thoughts on “Photography and Writing: You Learn by Doing”

  1. Totally agreed! There’s a process we all have to go through, and it’s this journey that weeds out the people who are not serious. Sometimes, there are those who are serious who just didn’t expect things to be hard, and your post serves as a great reminder for them to keep doing. Thanks for sharing!

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