Look Beyond Photography: Episode 19 “What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do”

Sometimes we all just feel lost and don’t know what to do next.  One thing I can say for certain…if you don’t know what to do, the worst thing you can do, is to do nothing!

The photography industry can often be a cryptic and confusing place to call home.  There are a thousand different photographers with a thousand different ways of doing things in a thousand different places around the world.  It makes sense that we would look to those more experienced for confirmation and direction, but what do we do with all of the viewpoints and options floating around about how photography and business should work?  It’s easy to get overwhelmed and reach a point where we simply just have no idea what to do next!

I think in times like this it is often important to do some planning.  Sometimes, when you don’t know what to do, it’s actually a good time to set some new goals (or remind yourself of past goals).  The reason we don’t know what to do is because we’ve lost sight of our goals or we simply don’t have clear-cut goals in mind.  Making simple, goal-oriented plans at this stage can get you back on track quickly without swimming in too much “down-time”.  Make the goals simple on purpose.  For example, perhaps a goal can be to create a new social media blast that you plan to share twice a day for the next week.  Maybe a goal could be to try two new lighting setups within the next day or so.  Your goal may even be to watch a new video on post-processing and practice adding those techniques to your skillset.  The point is to keep pushing forward with something, rather than sit and do nothing!  (Remember one of my earlier posts about “creativity breeds more creativity”?  Well in the same way, productivity breeds more productivity!)

Another thing that may be helpful in getting back on track is to reach out to a more experienced photographer, or a mentor that you trust.  Having a third-party perspective on things can often reveal issues that we’re too close to see first-hand.  Many photographers have been through the same pitfalls that we are going to face, which can allow us to glean some important tips and information on how to get through it.  We can’t allow our pride to prevent us from reaching out when we need help and advice.  Believe me, it’s ok to admit when we don’t know what we’re doing.  It doesn’t mean that we’re stupid or incapable of learning.  It doesn’t mean that we’re not meant to be in this industry.  It simply means that we’ve reached an area in our life or business that we haven’t experienced before and could use a guide to help us through.  That’s the great thing about building a community of photographers that you trust.

Finally, use times like these for prayer and reflection.  Sometimes, God allows these times of inactivity so that we have a moment to listen for that still, small voice.  Maybe He has a new direction He’d like us to take…or perhaps there’s a better way to use our gifts to serve others.  Whatever it is, taking time to talk to God is always a good thing.  He knows what we need before we even ask or think of it!

If you’re feeling a little lost today, it’s ok and it’s normal.  Just take a deep breath and then find small ways to move forward until it’s time to make those giant leaps again!