Photography is much more than aiming a camera and pushing a button. It’s more than thoughtful composition or lighting a subject. Truly being in the moment of any artistic endeavor requires a commitment to yourself and your vision – not simply focusing on some wishfull payoff down the line.

Here are just a few ways to nurture the poetic element in your photography. The first thing I’ve found useful is to slow down and play in the moment. This means loving what you do. If waking up early to get the right light or having to stay up late editing your work becomes a job rather than a passion, then it will be hard to be effective in practicing your craft. You must feel driven to do it, because if you shoot or edit without enthusiasm it will show. The key here is to continue to do what you want, and be open to change.

Ground your work in the journey – not the arrival. Find out as much as you can about who you truly are. Be a human be-ing, not a human do-ing. Base your journey on purpose – on knowing you have a unique reason for being, a special vision or message – an insight into a harmonious part of life that you can tap into. This requires not just a belief, but a conviction that nothing and nobody can stop you from doing what you were meant to do. Develop confidence in yourself and realize what your gift is worth. Too many photographers give their images away and undermine their work’s value. If you don’t believe in yourself, don’t expect anybody else to.

Positive thinking is useful in getting out of a rut when you are focusing on what isn’t working, but even more important is for you to feel quietly grounded and secure in that time between positive thoughts. Ideally, you want to be calm and focused, not scattered. Accept no limitations, and base your work on your love of doing it. Remember, a career in photography is not a 100 yard dash. It’s a marathon. Color photography pioneer Ernst Haas once remarked, “Never expect too much. Be open to chance, for in this chance you will find your order.” I was lucky to have this amazing photographer as a mentor, and I’m deeply indebted to him for helping to guide me on my journey. You can learn more about Ernst Hass’ philosophy at: