What I did and how I did it. Part one.

The shattering illusion of foreverFrom the moment I discovered photography, I felt curiosity for what is behind every fascinating image. When looking at other photographers work, I always wondered how their work has been created. But this curiosity was not about the photo equipment, setup or editing process. I felt the need to know more about the course took by the person behind the photo. How that person got there? What that person did, that made her work so interesting to me?
At the request of those who follow my work and to whom I am really grateful, I decided to start writing some articles that describe my learning path in the photography field.
Next are those little things that made a big difference for me, the steps I took to get to create something that makes the ones who watch feel something.

Identifying exactly what I love about photography.

I discovered portrait photography 2 years ago. From the very first moment, I was fascinated by what can be done in Photoshop. I knew from the beginning that the editing part is what I love most about photography. Finding this, shaped my whole learning process. Every photo that I took, was shot having in mind, from the beginning, the editing process that will take part in Photoshop. Identifying the part I was most interested in, helped me stay focused, and thus, learning and evolving faster.

Observing. Training the eye to see

I’m sure it sounds like a cliché, but this is something that I constantly did the first  year I discovered my passion. And I did it every day. Every free moment I had, I sacrificed it for this. I spent hours and hours looking at images that I found beautiful. Not only scrolling but analyzing. Looking at colors, analyzing the light, the composition, everything that made me stop and look at that image. I will never stop saying that this habit was the most important one in my learning process. It is how I learned to see, how I trained my eye.

It might sound crazy, but I am well aware that I am not a talented person. It’s not talent. It’s just hard work. If I got a talent, it is the ability to learn fast. I like to learn. That’s all. No artistic gifts born with. No exceptional creative abilities as a child. Nothing. There were no shortcuts.

Monica LazarI did compare myself with others.

Do compare yourself with others! Yes. I mean It. I know that you hear everywhere how to not compare your work with other photographers work, but let’s be honest, how is there to know where you stand? From the beginning, I searched for the best in this field, I followed their work and I constantly compared my work with theirs. It helped me tremendously. I knew from the start that this is a climbing process, that it won’t feel nice to always have in front of me the best of the best to compare with. But it was what made me want to learn faster. It helped me stay aware of where I am and where I wanted to get.

No constructive criticism!

I did compare my work to the best in this field, but I didn’t punish myself. The ones I admired served as a goal, not as something that would only remind me where I stood. In the first year, I hated every image I did. I liked it for about 10 minutes, and then I found it terrible. To learn to love the process, not only think about the goal, was the hardest part I learned.

I was and I still am my own biggest critic. Still, I never looked for someone else’s opinion. I never asked someone else what they think about my work. My only guidance was the natural feedback that I got from those who follow my work. To ask for “constructive criticism” can become a trap. If asked, everybody will express an opinion. Everyone will instantly know how you could have done something better. I focused on listening to the general feedback, not look for particular opinions.

So, find exactly what you like, look for those better than you and learn from their work, train your eye, and last but not least, be your biggest and only critic, but don’t forget that this will be a long process. Loving your work at every stage will help you keep a steady pace.

 

Monica Lazar