What do Seinfeld and photography have in common? Maybe more than you think. Regardless of what you think of Seinfeld, you have to admit he is one of the most successful comedians of all time. What was one of the secrets to his success? Well I read that when he was asked that same questions one he explained that when he was starting off he knew the only way to get better was to write better jokes, and the only way to write better jokes was to write a lot of jokes. To do this Seinfeld knew he had to work on it daily, he had to write new jokes everyday. He set up a system where everyday he would committed to writing at least one new joke and then when he did he would cross of the day on his calendar with a big X. Day after day he would write a joke and put an X in the box and after a while he said you start to see a chain X’s forming. According to Seinfeld, the secret to getting better was to get the chain as long as you could without breaking it. If broken, you would simply start over and see if you could get the chain longer than it was last time.
What does this have to do with photography? Whether coming up with jokes or snapping photos the same principle applies. If you work at it everyday you have no option but to get better. If you want to be a better photographer then everyday you should commit yourself to working on your photos. Start a chain and see how long it can get before it breaks and once broken, start over and shoot for a longer chain. I took Seinfeld’s advice myself a few month ago and currently have a chain of 78 days long. Sure there are days you don’t feel like taking out the camera and working on your photography but you do it anyways because you know you have to in order to get better. It’s just like exercising, there are days you don’t feel like it but you know you want to stay healthy so you do it anyways.
Here is another way to look at it. I read in Tony Robbin’s book Awaken the Giant Within that this is the fasted way of gaining experience. Let’s say for example, that the average photographer works on his photography twice a week, on the weekends. So that in one year he has 104 days worth of experience. Now if you commit to working on your photos every day, in that same year you will have 365 days of experience. Thats roughly 2 more years of experience than the average photographer in the same time period!
Give it a shot, start a chain today and see how long you get make it grow. Here is my advice though, be honest with yourself and focus on the areas of your craft that you know you are weakest in. For meet has been studio work. I had very little experience with studio photography and knew almost nothing about lighting techniques, studio equipment, seamless background, among others. So for the last 78 days that has been my focus. I am still not great at this but I am a hell of a lot better than I was 78 days ago and a few of my studio photos are even starting to sell now. so step out of your comfort zone and send time each day working on in area you know you need to get better in.
Tip: One great way to track your progress is to use the Coach.me app for both iOS and android. This simply app lets you create a habit and then check in daily once you have completed that habit and will show you how long of a streak you are on.