I’m sure there’s many of you who’re reading this who’ve struggled with motivation to follow your passion. I don’t necessarily mean photography – maybe, like me, you love the cinema but rarely go because you want to see films none of your friends want to see (and it’s bloody miles away); or perhaps you love going out for a run but the dreary winter months have put you off and it’s a struggle to get back into it. I’m the same, especially with landscape photography.
I work most days of the week in photography (which I love) whether it be at tourist attractions, weddings, parties, product photography etc. However my original passion stems from landscape photography, which I aim to keep primarily as a hobby. That said, the more I work, the more time I’m spending behind a camera and building my business, the less motivation I have to get out there in the hills and capture landscape images.
It’s the same in any profession. If you’re passionate enough about something that you want to make a career from it, likelihood is that it’ll eventually get too much and you simply need a break from it. And now that it’s what you do for a living, that “time-out” is likely going to be during your time off. When I first entered the world of commercial kitchens I was young, eager to learn, and didn’t care much about the unsociable hours – I’d still go out after work anyway. I enjoyed cooking and baking at home, but as the years dragged on I found myself ever more likely to get home and throw a frozen pizza in the oven rather than make something half decent.
Now, I’m still fairly early into my new career having set up my business just over a year ago, so most of my efforts are still focused on building up my portfolios/working on my website/social medias/editing shots I’ll never post just for practice/writing these blog posts and posting to YouTube to build up my SEO – it’s a full time job before even working on a shoot! Unfortunately a lot of this work also spills into what shouldbe my leisure time, easily done when you work from a desk in your bedroom… That said, I’m always staring out of my bedroom window to see what the weather’s doing and whether I think the light’s going to be decent at sunset. Very often the light does look good, but I’ve been so burdened by my own workload that I tell myself the light will be gone before I get to a decent spot – I just stay at the computer until it’s dark.
Most of my working life I’ve been stuck in hospitality. Many years of working in hot kitchens and being stuck behind the bar saw me missing out on down-time. Most people may get home at 5/6pm, have dinner and still have plenty of time to chill out or enjoy hobbies. I’d be getting home at 10pm, even past midnight after a bar shift, scoffing on rubbish food and straight to bed before starting again the next morning. I didn’t have evenings to myself, to go out for sunset and explore new locations in cracking light. I’d arrive home in the dark no matter the season or time of year.
Now I realise I have that time. It’s still a hard habit to crack, and not always possible, but I’m trying to force myself out more in the evenings. Not even for the sake of my photography – just to be outdoors. Whether I’m atop a mountain, lakeside, in the forest or just sat in a field enjoying a view, I’m far happier when I’m outdoors. If I get a good shot, that’s just a bonus.
I’d urge every one of you to take the time to have a wander. One evening a week makes the world of difference to your mental state, never mind physical fitness. I’m very lucky to be situated in the beautiful Welsh countryside but you don’t need mountains and lakes to breath fresh air and clear your head once in a while.