Forcing yourself to be Better

Here's a photo for Chris Kenny Connections that I absolutely had to shoot into the sun. Good thing I'd been practicing.

Getting better is hard. Especially when you think you know everything already. So to help myself continue to learn how to be a better photographer, I’ve introduced something new to my workflow, and I call it a “Forced Variable.” Don’t ask me where I got the name, that’s just what I ended up calling it. A forced variable is something that you always change when taking photos.  It could be never shooting the same location twice, deciding not to use zoom lenses for a day or shooting with your review screen turned off and not looking at your work until the end of the day. Using a forced variable makes things difficult at times but it is one of the best ways to continue learning how to be a better photographer. A forced variable is something that I use in practice, and while shooting personal projects.  Personal projects are what get us our “real” jobs, and keep our portfolios moving along.  It’s personal work that keeps me getting better at my job, and it’s also one of the things that keeps me interested in what I do. So forcing myself to use that time to expand my knowledge and skill set is a natural step. I know in the back of my mind that I can always return to a great location, so it’s not that I’m limiting myself, I’m expanding my library of locations by forcing myself to always look for something new and interesting. If I absolutely need that old location, it’s there. The benefits of forcing yourself to lear are countless. Just think about that next job you have, and they want you to shoot directly into the sun. There’s two ways you can answer them. 1. Gee, my photography class said never to shoot directly into the sun. Or 2. I have some great techniques I’ve been working on that I’d love to use for this shoot, would you like to see what it looks like?


About Ben Horton
Highly influenced by his love of travel and adventure and his constant search for something new, his imagery is vibrant with fresh and creative energy. Raised in Bermuda, Ben Horton has spent the majority of his life traveling and seeking out new adventure. Ben is the recipient of the National Geographic Society’s first Young Explorer award for research on Cocos Island involving shark poaching. This led to becoming a photographer for National Geographic, and has allowed Ben to continue his passion for adventure. Follow Ben on Instagram

One Response to Forcing yourself to be Better

  1. Dana says:

    Great post. You’ve just inspired me to get back into personal projects, cheers!

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