Friday, August 14, 2015

Stress & Photography - 5 Tips To Help You Manage Stress

Stres Relief - Tehachapi, California
Everyone has stress in their life. It's a part of being human. It's a part of living in our modern society. It can't be avoided. And it's prevalent in photography.

Some people use photography as a stress relief. Some find the creativity of a camera to be soothing. Photography can be an escape from the tough parts of life. It's easy to get lost in it.

But photography can be stressful. The location might be intense. A deadline might be looming. You might be nervous of how a client's image has turned out. Maybe your gear is giving you trouble. Perhaps the weather isn't cooperating. Money might not be coming in like you hoped it would. Maybe your gear just got stolen. There are a lot of things in photography that you can worry about.

Stress has been called "the silent killer" because it effects your body in ways that might not be obvious. Your body responds to stress by giving extra energy to some areas and taking it away from other areas. Often you don't realize what your body is doing to itself to cope with stress.

Your life can be shortened by having too much stress over time. Heart disease, diabetes, and intestinal problems (among other things) have all been linked to stress. Besides that, it can cause you to be more irritable and less focused, which (in turn) can lead to all sorts of negative things.

It's clear that stress needs to be managed. You can't avoid stress, but you can learn to deal with it so that it doesn't effect your life so much. You've got to take control of it instead of letting it control you.

Here are five practical tips for photographer's to deal with stress.

Time Management
Time Record - Stallion Springs, California
Sometimes it feels as though there are not enough hours in the day. Deadlines loom. Work pulls you one way. Family pulls you another. It's hard to keep up with life. And this can lead to stress as you try to handle it all.

You cannot add more minutes to the clock, but you can use your time more wisely, allowing yourself to accomplish what you need to accomplish. You can use what time you have more efficiently.

There are time eaters in your life, such as television, internet and social media, that you can limit. The less time you spend in front of a screen the more time you can spend elsewhere. People tend to waste hours and hours on meaningless entertainment. People spend hours and hours researching photography gear on the web. That is time you'll never get back.

A lot of time can go into post-processing photographs, so look for ways to speed up your workflow. Create shortcuts that allow you to more quickly accomplish the desired look without wasting too much time with the process.

Worry About What You Can Control And Not About What You Can't Control
Unknown Worry - Stallion Springs, California
There are things in your life that you can control and there are things in your life that you cannot control. People have a tendency to worry about things that are completely out of their hands.

You cannot control nature and people. You can't change the weather. Heck, it often can't even be accurately predicted! You can't control people. You can't force people to cooperate or act as you wish them to. You can't control whether or not people like your photographs or how they interpret your work.

What you can control is yourself. You control how much work and creativity you put into your photographs. You can control the camera and lens. You control how your photographs look.

Don't worry about the things you have no control over. If someone doesn't get your photography, don't let that bother you. If the weather is all wrong, do what you can with what is given and don't let it bother you that the conditions aren't right. Whatever the situation is, if you have no control over it, don't worry if the response is negative. You can't control it, so you shouldn't get upset by it.

All that you can do is your best. Give it your all. Try your hardest. You can control yourself. Do what you can with what you have and don't worry about the rest.

Reflections of Life - Scottsdale, Arizona
I captured this with my cell phone the day after my DSLR got stolen.
Your gear will get stolen. You'll drop that expensive camera. Your computer will crash. It's just a matter of time. These things happen every day to photographers. It has happened to me. It will happen to you.

When gear gets lost, broken or stolen, it is a huge stress factor. Not only does it put a giant wrench in your photographic plans, but it can be expensive to replace, and you may have even lost irreplaceable images.

Back up your work. Have a second camera. Be redundant. Know what insurance and warranties you have--what is and isn't covered--for when something does happen. Be ready, and, although it still stinks, it won't completely set you back. You'll be able to keep moving forward.

Take In The Moment
Algae Rock - Avila Beach, California
Photography can take you to some amazing places. You get to experience things that others might not. You see the world with different eyes.

Sometimes, with the hustle-and-bustle of life, it can be easy to overlook the great beauty that is around you. From time-to-time you must remind yourself to stop and smell the roses. Take a look around at where you are and what you are doing. It's amazing, isn't it?

It's important for our attitude to appreciate what we have in the moment. Have a bit of gratitude for the majestic landscape or spontaneous street scene or almost overlooked natural design or the genuine smile on the child or whatever it is that you happen to be photographing.

Enjoy the moment and take it in with a deep breath. Can you feel the tension slip away?

Mystery Drive - Stallion Springs, California
A big stress factor for photographers is the unknown. You can imagine how things will be, but, until you have your camera in hand ready to capture, it's impossible to know just what might happen. There are so many variables that can cause you trouble. When things are on the line, this big mystery can give you plenty to worry about.

The best way to combat this stress is to be as prepared as possible. A little research, precaution and planning can go a long ways towards calming one's mind.

If you are not intimately familiar with a photography location, searching the web and especially visiting the site can make a world of difference. The more you know about it the better you'll be able to handle the surprises. If you are photographing people, a little pre-photo-shoot conversation can ease both you and them.

Take precautions for the unknown surprises that might happen. Have an extra camera, lens, battery, memory card, etc., just in case. It's better to have them and they sit unused than to not have them and you find out that you actually need them. Prepare for the weather, and be prepared in case the weather changes. Have a first aid kit, water and a cell phone if you're going out to a remote location. Consider what the worst thing that could happen is, and have what you need should it take place.

Think of a plan for how your shoot might go, then think of a backup plan should the first plan not work out. Even a "Plan C" is a good idea just in case things are much different than you thought. It's good to have considered all of this through in advance so that you are ready for whatever might happen.

With appropriate research, precautions and planning you can have confidence that, no matter what crazy thing happens or surprise surfaces, you know exactly how to respond and what to do. You cannot remove the unknown--there will always be the unknown--but knowing that you are ready for it, whatever it might be, will help ensure that your mind is at ease.

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