Olga Levien
New Zealand Artist | Mentor | Mum

Olga Levien wedding | documentary family photographers Blog

Personal projects and documentary-lifestyle photographs taken by Olga Levien photography artist - wedding and family photographer in Auckland, New Zealand and international.

How to progress and work with your weaknesses {Photography education | Tips for photographers}

I recently heard a lot of questions about weaknesses and how to progress, grow from the point where you feel stuck in your photography journey to reach success and new horizons. 

So I decided to put a few thoughts together {please exude my grammar mistakes as english not native to me and let me know if anything not clear, if you have any questions!}. You can call it a tutorial, but I would say I just wanted to share with you my thoughts and hear what you think.

We all in different stages in our photography journey and we have our own struggles.

Someone just starting out, someone already shoot for many years, someone in business, someone enjoying photography as a hobby and creative outlet. Its not mean we not struggle, sometimes we struggle a lot, we all have our own little things what we want to archive, improve, what we want to reach.

Our goals can be absolutely different, but we still feel the same way, sometimes upset, lost or just flat {no matter if you want to nail the focus, learning to shoot in manual mode, get perfect skin tone, want to nail your editing style, refine your Voice or reach to more clients, business development - its still the same process}.

So how to get what you want, how to progress? I put together some thoughts what I hope helps you.

1. Recognise your points of improvement. Refine what you not happy with at this point of time. You can call it your weakness, your problem, your struggle or your point of improvement {which sounds more positive  }

Look at your situation from outside sometimes can help a lot {someone which opinion you can trust can look at your images and point on things to improve}. 

Try to trust yourself as often we know exactly what we want to improve, what we need to work on {its can be technical aspects, creativity, composition, editing, and much more}. Your gut feeling tells you something off and need to be changed. Try to find these points and set up goals for improvement. Find the ways to make these dreams come true {work on this improvement yourself, get some help from outside {as workshops, online courses, and mentoring}, and have a look with refreshed eyes at your situation, make a break}.



2. Find the inspiration and mojo. Try new things.

Don't be too critical to yourself. As more we know, more we learn, more we see points in our images | photography | business | life to improve. But its still about the moments and emotions, memories and your joy, don't forget it!

Remember your first year when each image brought you so much discoveries, joy and opened to you the magic world of photography {sometimes we lost this excitement on the way which can be crucial for our feelings, not happy emotions}. Try to carry this feeling through the years, try to find a new things what makes you wonder again, explore, happy again.

Its can be anything from new lens, location, subject to shoot, perspective, creative accessories as prism - wrap - lens baby - copper ring and much more. Probably you no need all these extra stuff, but try to challenge yourself with new creations and projects, find your mojo, enjoyment in photography | business | life 


3. Push it through constrains. Practice and progress.

Photography as therapy such a powerful tool. When you feel flat, unhappy, lost your direction - just grab your camera and shoot. Believe me you will find this joy on the way, in the process. Take any frame, look at the picture, think what you can improve: apply it, change your angle, change perspective, shoot through, go all around, improve it, find the new subject, find your winner image, find you joy and happiness. You can shoot as many or less frames as you want. You can visualise result and get it right or find something new and unexpected on the way of creating things.

Create a constrains and move through them. Anything what limit you and make you think outside the box. Its such a good feeling to move through struggles and archive something, such a joy and relief! Its move you to the next step, closer to your desires.


4. Turn your weaknesses into your power! Embrace your fears, go for it! Be open to new horizons and opportunities.

If you have fears, weaknesses you actually a powerful person. Because if you not feel this, if you not struggling with something its mean you not moving through this process of analysing, improving, archiving things, also you not fight your fears, so you can't win them. I found the most powerful photographers/artists those ones who had something big and meaningful happened in their lives, these big/sad/meaningful events made them struggle, think, realise something and made feel deeper, see wider so they been able to create and share these strong emotions with us, they looked deeply in themselves, in the world around with new vision. 

Im not saying you need to move through tragic event to be a powerful artist but you need to meet your fears, embrace them, go for something what you really afraid of, go out of your comfort zone to create something new, be open to a new horizons and follow your dreams.

If you don't have any fears, if you feel too comfortable with everything maybe you need to find point of difference, move to something new, change your routine and process to try something different and unexpected. You can fall in love with this new experience and move step closer to improvements, to the next level, or you can not liked it at all and feel its been useless; but just moving through the process you already made a step forward and archived something {maybe invisible for you at this moment}. As people saying "never tried never know..." 

Its can be anything from trying a new genre {as self-portrait or street photography where you feel not so comfortable; or speaking in front of the big audience, capturing big group family portraits; start to shoot in manual mode, or move into the business }

So your weaknesses and struggles are actually your superpower if you realising it, and can turn them the way so its works for you and your progress.



5. Last but not least enjoy the process, be happy. Anywhere you go, anything you do try to find points what makes you happy. Recognise these points, take them with you and apply for future steps and progress with this enjoyment and happiness.

Quit often universe turn towards people who thinking positive, make things happen and make other people happy. If you feeling bad about your photography and life try to find positive points instead ruining yourself in self distractive negative feelings. If you not happy with your business, start from yourself, do something what makes you happy {only you know what it is, maybe look at sunset, your kids playing or even go on holidays }, think about your clients, how to bring happiness in their life {try to use more positive tone in emails, laughing on the session, add some extra prints with your package delivery to make clients happy, exceed their expectations - these steps can bring you even more clients or just makes all process more positive and enjoyable for you}, If you stressed with your family life {struggle with balancing photography and family, family and business}, - try to spend more time with your kinds and partner, get more positive events, have a break form photography and business {who knows its can bring more opportunities to photograph, happiness to your family and you. You can even put your camera away and just make a frames in your mind, imagination just enjoying the moment happening unfold.


If you want more short and structured thoughts I would put it this way:

1. Recognise your weaknesses, points what make you unhappy

2. Set up goals to work on

3. Go for it! Embrace your fears and make actions

4. Reflection: analyse what you can do different, improve

5. Go to the next step, next goal and action, analyse and open new horizons.

Don't forget to Be happy all way through, think positive!

This process never stops as our life, you constantly grow and progressing, find and learn something new. Its just matter of time, practice, ability listen to yourself and trust your intuition, feel the world around and see the opportunities {which are all around us, we just can't see it clear at times as we made our brains busy with problems what exist only in our imagination }, and last but not least - thinking positive and be happy!

Thank you so much for reading it till the end , hope its helps you. Please let me know if you have any questions {sorry for any grammar mistakes, english not native language for me}.

I would love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts with me!