I’m a photographer, not a writer

I’m a photographer, not a writer

When I was first asked in October 2017 why I didn’t write for Photofocus, my reply was that I’m a photographer, not a writer. Yet, here I am five years later, writing, on the editorial board, as the community manager and contributing behind the scenes more and more. 

Here are a few things I’ve learned after almost five years of writing for Photofocus.

Write about what you know

scanned selfy write

My first experience writing articles was a struggle. It was hard to come up with topics that I felt confident enough to write about. All the questions and criticisms I just knew those who knew more than I would start coming at me. Who are you to be writing about that? That’s not how that works, you’re not right. Or the questions asked of me and what I wrote that I may not be able to answer. Both of those things made me think hard about jumping into this writing thing. 

The best advice I was given was to write about what you know. So, that’s what I started doing. My passions for photography lie in seeing the unseen. Noticing the unnoticed, architectural and automotive images. Also, in helping other photographers in their own photographic journeys. Inspiring them to push further into what they want to do and the work they want to produce.

Those are the topics I started writing about.

Write about what you don’t know

There is a Latin term, Docendo discimus. It means, “by teaching, we learn.” Slowly, I started picking up topics that I wasn’t completely familiar with. The technical side of photography isn’t something I enjoy talking about. Mostly because I’m not confident in that knowledge. Yes, I know what I need to do in order to create my own images. I know how my own camera operates but helping someone else with that? Eeeek. No confidence there.

But, choosing to write about topics including camera basics, some gear reviews and even some post-processing software, pushed me to learn more. Writing has helped me learn a lot about photography, websites, blogs, and so much more. 

We all have something we can teach or help others with

The Horn sculpture at Medtronic plaza at Viking Stadium writer

Think about this. We all have something we can teach others. Yes, there will always be those who know more than we do. But, there will always be someone out there who just started. Someone who needs help with the basics. Someone who knows less because they are not at the level you are yet.

We’re also all passionate about different aspects of photography. Personally, I love helping people create better compositions. You might love showing someone how to use their camera for the first time. Someone else may enjoy talking about different gear. No matter what it is, it’s very likely we can pass what we do know on to someone else. 

Another side of our creativity comes forward

window washer scaffolding looking up at it writer

I don’t know about you but I’m not out creating images on a daily basis. In fact, there are days or weeks that can go by without me even picking up my camera. In those in-between times, I write. Writing not just as an author for Photofocus, but also for myself. 

My own websites have blogs, in fact, two sites mean two blogs. Last year I wrote 103 blog posts. So, writing for Photofocus has helped me work on my own sites and my own business. What I put out there and use that to continue to help others.

I also write every morning (mostly). Handwritten, three notebook pages, daily. This is where I clear my head to start the day and get ideas for my own work, photo projects and yes, articles for Photofocus.

Lessons learned from writing

So, if someone asks you to write for them, think twice about saying no. Think about what you’ll learn from it, and how you’ll grow. Also, think about the knowledge you can share with others who might need exactly what you have to offer.

Besides that, I’ve met some incredible people and made some lifelong friends all because of saying yes to writing.

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