I recently heard this question asked on a photography channel and realised that asking photographers if they shoot for the sale or for the soul does not refer to making money from photography but asks:
Do you shoot for other people’s approval, for social media likes, or to gain followers?
Do you post your photos into photography groups and ask for opinions on them, or seek the judgement of others on which of two styles of edit looks best?
Or do you shoot for yourself, take the photographs you like, experiment and explore to discover your tastes and preferences, take chances even when you have no guarantees of success, broaden your horizons because it is good for you, and for your development as a photographer?
I would like to think that I shoot for the soul.
I want my photography to be enjoyable and meaningful and I don’t want to experience the feelings of frustration and failure that can become a reality when we rely on others for affirmation.
There is nothing like capturing an epic shot, but these are not easy to achieve, and it can be time consuming and frustrating to get the exact shot we are looking for. It can also lead to perfectionism as we continually aim to achieve that elusive shot.
For me, this is not the most rewarding aspect of photography.
I get the most from my photography when I am exploring, when I am discovering new places and new things to shoot.
Sometimes this will simply mean going out with a camera and an idea in mind, and just enjoying the shoot and the images I create.
On this occasion I went out to photograph shape and lines in the built environment. I thoroughly enjoyed this topic which I had not explored before, and it was the experience, rather than the resulting images, that meant the most to me.
On this photography outing I just took random images of things that interested me.
Photography is something that gives me great joy, a fact that I have referred to in other posts. However, on my photography journey I have often fallen into the trap of wondering if my images will be liked by others and by asking this, I am inviting feelings of not being good enough.
I am beginning to realise that I must do photography for myself –
I must shoot for the soul rather than shoot for the sale.