This lesson is part of the How To Photograph Life - FREE Course. To see the full list of lessons, and learn more about the course, click here for the index.
Well, my friend, we made it. The end of the course. Over 25,000 words. That's a freakin' novella!
Before we go one step further, I want you to give yourself a giant pat on the back (or a hug, or a solo high five). Without question, you've earned it.
Taking the time to learn more about capturing your life is challenging. We're all busy folks! But it's important, and meaningful, and you are absolutely wonderful for doing it. I know your family and friends will greatly appreciate it over the years to come. I feel like we've gotten to know each other better over the past two weeks, so I can comfortably say that I am very proud of you.
But we're not quite done. Now I want to wrap up with just a few final thoughts on how to take in everything you've learned and put it to good use, moving forward.
This has been an absolute information overload kind of situation – in a good way. On these pages are enough tips, ideas and concepts to keep you busy for years. This is not stuff that you just master in a couple weeks. Like I’ve said, I’ve been capturing my life for a decade now, and I still struggle with, well, almost all of it at some point or another! I’m further ahead than when I started, but still have a very long way to go.
"On these pages are enough tips, ideas and concepts to keep you busy for years."
But that's not something to be discouraged about! No, that’s the great thing about this assignment: you have many years ahead of you to practice and experiment and play.
So take your time. Focus on one area of your work, and spend a few months improving it. Then move to another. Take on a new challenge. Try a new technique. Make one year “The Year of Storytelling” and the next one “The Year of Portraits”. Enjoy the process of really getting to know photography.
And please, my friend, be patient with yourself. With so many new ideas in your head, it’s easy to look at where you are, and where you want to be, and get frustrating by the distance. Like anything amazing, this will take time. And already you’re doing a great job of it! (How do I know? Because you're investing in your work by participating in this course!) I'm confident that you’re going to get where you want to go. One capture at a time.
You've learned a lot in the past two weeks, that’s for sure. But the most wonderful part of all? There is SO MUCH MORE to learn!
Don’t look at this course as the end of your learning, but the beginning. Each of the topics we covered goes much deeper. The further you dive into each one of these topics, the stronger your photography will become.
And the best part of this learning is that it will help you create better images for the rest of your life. It’s one of the wisest investments you can make. However you choose to do it, whether with us, other sites, books, or good old fashioned trial and error, keep on learning, for the rest of your life, and you’ll be amazed at what you can create.
There are a couple of very wonderful quotes that have helped me greatly that I'd like to share with you. First, on what bravery means.
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."
- Nelson Mandela
Ok, so that's amazing right? When I learned that, it truly changed my life. I thought I wasn't brave because I was afraid a lot. I was nervous, scared, tentative. And those are all things that do not help our photography (or our lives, to be honest). A photographer needs to walk into a situation bravely, and be confident about themselves. Confident that they can capture the scene, that they deserve to be there, that their work is meaningful.
Does that seem like an exaggeration? I don't think so.
Have you ever felt nervous taking out your camera? Embarrassed? Afraid to ask someone for a portrait? Afraid that you'll miss the shot? Annoy someone? Offend someone? That your work won't measure up? That people will say mean things about it? Or ignore it?
I feel those things all. the. time.
But what Mr. Mandela has put so perfectly is that it is completely ok to feel those things as long as you act anyway. That's what being brave is: acting in spite of being afraid.
And for the second quote, to really drive home the importance of that courage?
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage."
- Anais Nin
My friend, life is a big, fantastic, absolutely terrifying adventure. It is scary to live it, let alone throw yourself right into it with a camera, and a big open heart, and the desire to remember everything good and bad about it.
But the more we can approach it with bravery, courage, and openness, well, the more it opens itself up to us, and our art.
Great photos come from many things: a understanding of your camera, light, composition, and all those other topics we've covered.
But a brave and open heart? Just as essential as any of those things.
So go forward, friend, with bravery, and capture photos of your life. Put your heart into it, and you'll create images that will resonate and connect with others well into the future.
That’s the real magic of photography, and I hope you have many wonderful years of capturing that for yourself.
Thank you so very much for joining me on this adventure. It was a true honour to spend this time with you.
P.S. I would LOVE to hear what you thought of this course! I put everything I had into making this course super useful for you, so I'd love to know how I did! Please drop me a line at lauren[at]photographyconcentrate.com and tell me what you thought! Very much looking forward to hearing from you! :)
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