How to Handle a Bad Day in Photography: 5 Tips to Help You Pick Up the Pieces
It happens. You’ve had a bad day. Maybe your photo didn’t turn out the way you hoped, or someone was less than kind to you. Whatever it is, it can leave us feeling deflated and defeated. As photographers, we spend countless hours working on our craft – so much that if something goes wrong, we tend to take it personally. But regardless of how personal an issue may be for us, there’s nothing productive about wallowing in self-pity and negativity. And that means, no matter how low you feel, there are ways to get back up and dust yourself off again! Here are five tips to help you pick up the pieces when a bad day in photography strikes. Take a break Photo disasters can leave us feeling super-frustrated, but that doesn’t have to mean you have to immediately try to bounce back. The best thing to do when you’re feeling down is to take a break from photography. We’re so used to constantly pushing ourselves to be better every single day that sometimes, it’s good to just step back and take stock of where you are and where you’re at. You might realize that you’ve been working harder than you need to or that you’ve been looking for outside validation for something that’s quite internal. Whatever it is, it’s important to take time to get your head straight again so you can return feeling re-energized and ready to face whatever challenges lie ahead! Know when to quit If someone had told you before you started your photography career that you’d have a bad day, it would’ve been a bad day. But in your mind, you’re like, “Surely it’s going to get better. And if it doesn’t, I’ll keep trying!” Well, chances are you’ve been trying for a while now, and it’s high time you choose to walk away. Bad days don’t magically go away; they just get worse. And while you may feel like you must keep going because you’re committed to your career, it’s important to remember that you are a human being first and foremost. If something is really draining you and affecting your quality of life, you need to take a step back and consider if that’s really worth it. Re-evaluate your approach When we’re feeling down, it can be tempting to blame other people or circumstances for our bad day. But the thing is, that’s what photographers do when things go wrong! We’ve all heard it said that the pictures don’t lie, but we often forget that the photographer’s approach plays a big part. You may be approaching a project in the wrong way or trying a certain style of photography that may not be for you. Maybe you’re planning a shoot that doesn’t make sense to you or that you’re not completely excited about. Maybe you’re even trying something that’s bad for you – like trying to take a specific kind of photo that inherently has things against it (such as a bad location, difficult subject, etc.). It may be that you need to re-evaluate your approach, so you don’t keep finding yourself with a bad day. Find a light side hustle You may be thinking, “But I love photography!” And that’s great! We all have to find ways to make a living while we pursue our passions. But before you get all upset and say, “I wish photography was just a hobby!” remember that there are many, many careers that you can enjoy as a hobby – and photography is just one of them. There are many things you can do to fill the time between client jobs that are light and fun to keep your mind off the negative – like taking up a new hobby, reading a book, or spending time with friends and family. Look for the silver lining When we’re experiencing a downer, it can often help to look for the silver lining. Maybe you’ve looked at your bad days from a broader perspective, and you realize that the majority of the time, they don’t actually affect you. Maybe you’ve realized that bad days happen to everyone, and they don’t really matter at all. Whatever it is, it can be helpful to look for a silver lining on a bad day. Bad days don’t have to be debilitating; they just have to be something we can learn from. It might be something you did well or something you were doing before you were ready to give up. It might be something you saw in a client’s photograph that you could use in your next shoot. It might be a piece of advice or just something that makes us all feel better about ourselves and our place in the world. Conclusion Bad days don’t have to mean that you have to give up on photography. In fact, you can use them as a chance to learn something new and better for your next project. And that’s the best thing about bad days - they don’t have to ruin your day or make you feel defeated. It’s all about finding the silver lining, re-evaluating your approach, and looking for the good in what’s happened. Whether you’ve had a bad day photography-wise or something else has been bothering you, know that you’re not alone. Everyone goes through rough patches, and they can be a precious opportunity to reflect, re-evaluate, and find a way forward once again.