I was thinking about some of the things I’m putting in my new Photography Fresh Start program (sorry, registration is closed) and I wanted to share this story with you. I think it’ll resonate with many of you.
If you’re anything like me, you’re busy – and sometimes, you’re probably even overwhelmed with all of the things that you want to do.
So how do you find the time for your photography and photo editing?
At one time, I was in this exact place with my guitar playing. I was working like crazy, traveling, and trying to relax a bit too while spending time with my family.
So I put the guitar down for a few weeks. Well… a few weeks turned into a month. A month turned in to two months. And before you know it, I was staring down almost a FULL quarter of the year having barely picked up my guitar to play and practice.
So what did I do? I was lucky enough to have found an amazing guitar teacher that really helped me through it. And surprisingly enough, it wasn’t just some cool guitar trick, or new song that helped. It was all of the other stuff like him helping me with a practice routine, or talking me through why we tend to get in a rut or confused and distracted. And (most importantly) how to work out of it with small tips and steps for practicing and motivating me.
But these small tips and tricks that he showed, when done day after day, helped me break out and get back to consistent playing again.
One thing my teacher asked me to do was to set aside 30 minutes a day for the next 5 days to practice. Each day, I woke up and figured out what time that was going to be. I wrote it down in my calendar and made an absolute promise to myself that I would do it.
From there, I picked one video from the multitude of training and videos I had, and watched it. Then I practiced what was in the video. I did that every day for 5 days, and I was back! I felt good. I felt accomplished, and I was back to moving forward with my playing.
Simple right? Like I said before… these small simple and basic things, when done day after day, can lead to huge changes.
My Challenge To You!
If you have found yourself in this spot, then my challenge to you is this. Don’t make a New Year’s Resolution. While my challenge to you does fall in the beginning of the year, this is something you can do whenever you read this article (because many of you will be reading it at other times in the year). Don’t start a 365 day project (at least not right now). And don’t overwhelm yourself with promises of what you’ll do.
Instead, pick a 30 minute time slot out of each day and practice. Whether it’s camera techniques, or photo editing. Watch a video from a training course that you purchased, or log-in to whatever website you get training from (that you probably haven’t logged into in a while) and watch a video. Then practice it. Don’t practice everything. Just that one piece of information that was in that video.
Do this for 5 days, and I bet you find you’re right back at it too. From there, the challenge will be to keep it going. Some times it’ll be easy and sometimes it won’t. And that’s totally okay. Life will get in the way again, and you will start to wander away from your practice routine but that’s ok. At least now you have a basic plan for when it happens.
If I’m Being Honest…
Truthfully, I’m in a similar place right now. The holidays and work have gotten me away from guitar playing. But ya’ know what? Now I know EXACTLY how to get back in the game.
By the way… things like this (and more) are exactly what I’m hoping to do for you in my new Photography Fresh Start program. It’s not a photography technique course. It’s not a photo editing course. It’s not about teaching you some new fancy technique that you read about that everyone is doing, or telling you that you need some new piece of gear or software. It’s about helping you see some of the things that could be holding you back, and to help you breakthrough and make this your best year of photography yet. (Sorry, registration is closed until Summer 2019)
It’s also about showing you what I’ve learned over the years to help stay motivated, creative, and energized to keep it going. I hope you’ll swing by the web page and check out the main video at the top that’ll tell you much more about it.
What About You?
One last thing… I’d love to hear things that help you get out of a rut or keep you focussed on your photography and photo editing. Or… are you not practicing and shooting as much as you’d like, and why?
Thanks! Have a good one! 🙂
Mine is the Piano and shooting….and drone flying. You can’t put a piano in the closet so it is the elephant in the room. The drone is in the box since before Christmas.. I waited and saved for two years to get it. My photography is in a slump. I do alot of events for non-profits –paid and unpaid. The photos are fine, but a month after the event, no one cares. I love the work I do with the Military Veterans. I want to do more of that. I love nature and industrial and street photography, I tend not to share my personal photos so then why take them. Personal joy only goes so far. Creative tends to take a back seat when family crisis surrounds you. I need to learn to use my passion for photography as a true outlet for myself.
Hi Matt, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve been a member of ON1 plus for about three years now and I’ve bought classes from your website. However; I’ve nevered uploaded a photo, I rarely get to watch all the videos, and I still have trouble with processing. I think I fall into that want to be perfect category and imposter syndrome. I’m hoping this will get me past all this now that I’ve graduated from grad school and only have one job not two.
My example would be the time I could spend (invest) on your Photoshop course. I like it. I can’t remember how far I got, at least half to 2/3, doing every exercise with you via your files.
Different family, project, financial, shooting, organizing, submitting images, and other learning always come up.
Matt – Once again you have created a great program. I switched from Lightroom a couple years ago to ON1 Raw and haven’t looked back. I have tried Luminar including the latest version but find ON1 Raw much better with more features. I also signed up for the Fresh Start program. I have been shooting as a hobbyist since learning on a 4 x 5 Graflex Speed Graphic Camera (well I just gave my age away) but hope the program jump starts me again!!!
Hi Matt! Wow! the video for Fresh Start Really resonated with me, as it has with Rachels comments. I have now signed up for the course and eagerly await to start. I really enjoy your style of teaching and watch many of your videos & bought your courses too, but, they sit in a little folder awaiting that time….. So, THANK YOU for the honest video and developing a course as this. Keep up with the guitar playing.
Wow well Matt you hit it on the nail. There are so many courses I’ve bought that I haven’t even looked at because of lack of time. I constantly feel overwhelmed and just organizing all the free effects and videos has me spinning. I’m also at the point where I need to clean up my photo archives and figure out where in my pile of courses I should start watching. I’ve been told exactly what you’re advising us to do, but I still find it difficult when everything seems such a mess. The best remedy for me is when I have a need I go looking for a mini course that explains how to do that (like Big Skies) However this is very hit and miss and often confusing. I suppose I should knuckle down and at least try your remedy even before I clean up my files and make room on my hard drive. I’m just not sure where to start. Otherwise I am never going to get to watch any of the lessons. PS website is 8-10 years out of date
If I were you I would do what Matt says and put a specific amount of time per day and do things in this order.
1. Write down on a piece of paper every video you want to watch.
2. On a different piece of paper put them in the order you want to watch them.
Only then can you start watching them and practicing what you are learning.
At least that’s how I’d do it if I were you.
Thanks for these tips and your thoughts Matt. I think much of this is pretty intuitive and subject matter that most of us have some sense about but have forgotten and need to be reminded of. Setting aside a time everyday to practice is the key point and something I’m going to strive to do. Regrettably I’m not going to be able to enroll in your Fresh Start course as I’ll be traveling for much of the time it’s being presented. Hopefully reading about some of the experiences folks have will be helpful. In the meantime any chance that you’ll demonstrate your guitar skills to us?? If they are as good as your photography teaching skills my guess is that you are pretty accomplished!! Thanks for all you do.
At my first class in composition, we were asked to sit in any room in our residence with a closed door, and with a camera, and no other stimulus for 15 minutes. After the allotted time, take 2 pictures. It opened me up.
Thanks to all for reminding me of this simple exercise. I will be buy for the next 15 minutes or so.
What a great idea Matt. My two areas this year are landscape photography and learning Spanish. Any chance you could produce a good landscape video in español to help a brother??
Lol! I’m not sure you’d want me to 😉
Try Madrigals Magic Key to Spanish. IMHO, the best into you can get. It doesn’t have listen practice so look at Victor’s Adventures in Spain Vols 1 & 2. Book with Spanish on left half of page and English or right half. Audio mp3’s of the Spanish conversation so you can see and listen in Spanish. Vocabulary. 6,000 Spanish Words by Living Language. Get the book with the CD that has the computer program that makes flashcards for you. Type in the word and start reviewing them. Good luck.
Nice insights Matt – I like the ideas of reinventing yourself
and maybe, just maybe, your photography. Thanks again.
I also struggle with guitar and photography when it comes to staying motivated and actively practicing both.
They say we are great at what we do all day. Those that are incredible at things have a zillion hours of practice. Lack of practice is such a skills killer. And time to devote to it is always a struggle unless the person has a lot of free time and natural motivation.
I find that I’ll order instructional courses and put them on a back burner for a rainy day or when I can get to them, but life’s other needs take that time away, or I lose interest temporarily and I struggle to get back on it.
Matt’s idea of FORCING a 30 min or hour long session is a massive help. What’s more, it often causes new interest to develop out of progress made, or fun that was had, which causes desire for more practice.
It’s no fun being terrible at something. so as skill increases, practice time comes easier.
Great tip. Thanks Matt
Join a band and preform live. Nothing motivates to get better than the fear of screwing up in public.
Ditto Satya, I shoot full-frame and RAW with the best equipment (D850 and the holy trinity of lenses). I teach Adobe Lightroom and PSCC. I’ve even begun Skylum’s Luminar and Aurora HDR. I’ve been to 41 National Parks and am an NPS Titanium and Nikonians gold member. However, I am old and don’t get out enough lately. I think I may have found the fix for my current problem.
Matt helped me get a Coast flashlight and do some light painting when he spoke to my local camera club (ECC). Matt has helped me before and I look forward to his help in solving my current problem.
I’m bored with life and photography was 90% of my life. I can’t wait for January 14th. I want to live again.
When I watched videos from a training course, I would practice the techniques during the video, but the next time I really needed to use those techniques (which could be days or even months later), I found I had forgotten how to do them. That was discouraging because instead of being able to just jump in and perform the techniques I had in mind, I had to find and watch the video all over again, making my work take longer than I wanted it to.
I did two things to try to reduce that extra time.
First, I found a way to add a label to each video to highlight the key (to me) techniques covered. In my case, I used a comment field in my media player app. That helped me find the video I needed much more quickly. Even though most training videos are appropriately named for the techniques they teach, it’s surprising how often the video name doesn’t reference the specific technique I am looking for.
Second, as part of my initial watching of the video, I now make it a practice to find at least two of my photos that could be edited using the techniques I just learned. I pull virtual copies of these photos into a Lightroom Collection named for the technique. Then for my very next practice session, instead of starting on a new video, I use the techniques I learned in the previous session to practice on these two photos.
Susan, I appreciate what you are saying completely. I, too, have the same problem when it comes to recalling a specific technique from a video that I want to employ in an image. I really like your ideas for moving forward and will join you in your effort to improve. Please feel free to post how things are going in this regard.
3×5 file cards or the computer equivalent with the essence of the technique written down and a note to the video shown in.
As always, thank you so much for your instruction and inspiration. With so much to learn and so many resources, it can feel overwhelming. In addition, there is the desire to master all things regarding editing “yesterday”. I will now put 30 minutes of editing on my calendar and I know this will lead to success. With Gratitude. Ann
Thank you Matt, I have signed up for your class because even though I’m constantly busy with the photography work I do, I don’t always have time for my own photography. ( I shoot concerts for a venue, and I LOVE nature photography). I think we all need that kick in the pants once in a while to get us back on track with the basics. Thank you, and I’ve recommended your program to a few other photographer friends.
Thanks, Matt, for your insight! For me, it’s a combo of getting back into doing my consulting work plus finding time for piano practice. Your approach seems very wise, to me: sort of a “small starting steps” can yield great distances. Or, something philosophical like that. At any rate, I really like what you have to say. It certainly makes me stop and think and re-orient my time. I really enjoy and learn from your educational videos – I have signed on for the Photography Fresh Start program. Thanks for all you do to help many of us gain, regain and retain focus (horrible pun) on our love of photography and making images. Hope you have a great 2019!
Thanks Mary! Glad to have you aboard 🙂
Hi Matt, I have been motivated for some time to do more with photography and your chat about the fresh start last month along with the first set of videos on New Year day has me looking at this more seriously and with a plan. I have been using Lightroom in the past but switched to Luminar when it first came out and am continuing with Luminar 3. I do use Lightroom for stitching panorama shots since Luminar 2018 and 3 does not support this feature and I take quite a few panoramic shots (horizontal for landscape and vertical for buildings) on travels. My wife and I do travel a lot on vacation and I do on work. So, I always carry my camera with me on both occasions. Other than using Lightroom for sticking panoramic shots, it is Luminar for me. I have stopped looking for the “next best offer” emails since your talk about photography editors/software made a lot of sense. I now am focussing on just taking photos and hope to get better this year. This is not just a resolution but a promise to myself. Thanks as always for your videos and blogs and whatever you share with us. Please keep it going.