Jan 042016
Which way do I go © Pierre JJ

Which way do I go © Pierre JJ

Hit a wall, feel like you plateaued, or just not sure where to go?

These are all common problems that affect us all.  Whether you are a life long artist or just getting your start with a camera, finding direction is not always easy.  Two weeks ago a reader sent me a quick email.  It was self explanatory and you might have experienced the same feelings at some point.  In fact you might be feeling it now…and that is ok.

Tree Frog © Pierre JJ

Tree Frog © Pierre JJ

Hey Adam,
I am at a crossroad and not really sure where to go with my photography. ‘could use some insight. 

After reviewing Pierre’s pictures, I could clearly see that he took nice shots, but I could not see any of “him” in the pictures.  When I spoke with him, he agreed.  The pictures were good, well exposed, properly composed, but just did not fulfill him.
Finding your way through a creative rut is a bit like getting used to falling.  Let me explain.  Growing up I skateboarded, snowboarded, and surfed.  These are three sports where falling is just part of the process.  It seems intimidating at first, but eventually you get good at falling and not hurting yourself.  A trip off a curb might send someone else to the hospital, but falling from a flight of eight stairs was common for me.  And I never broke a bone on a major fall.
Fortunately, to be creative you don’t need to actually fall.  But you need to know what to do when you “hit a wall” or “are not sure which way to go.”  My advice is to seek guidance.  While you can spend months on end, banging your head against the wall trying to figure out what’s wrong, it is usually easier for someone else to give you some perspective.  I say this having sought advice myself from many people over the years (…and I still do it.)
In the professional world, it would be called “hiring a consultant or strategist.”  In the art world it is just called “getting feedback.”  Years ago it made all the difference in the world to me, which is why I now advise other artists, photographers, and companies who need creative feedback.  I’m happy to sort you out; there is no need to spend months in a rut.

How do you know if you have plateaued?  Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
  • Do my pictures all look the same?  (same lighting, same composition, same types of subjects)
  • Do I feel like I have story to tell, but just can’t get it into the pictures?
  • Does it always feel like I’m waiting for something interesting to happen in front of the lens, but nothing does?
  • Do other people’s pictures excite me more than my own?
  • What do I want to do with my pictures?  Am I doing it?
  • Do I think that the thing holding me back is a piece of gear?

Iguanga © Pierre JJ

Iguanga © Pierre JJ

Pierre’s Testimonial

One of the purposes of photography is sharing…it is a social practice.  It does not need a million likes on Instagram to be successful, but humans like to share pictures.  It appears to be in our DNA.  So why not share something that is truly authentic to yourself.

When Pierre and I discussed his questions and areas he wanted to improve, it became clear what he needed to do.  We set out a plan, which he immediately felt kicked him into gear.  We agreed to reconnect in two months, once he’s had a chance to shoot some new material.  And this is what Pierre had to say, in his own words.

Hi Adam,

Thank you very much for your time the other day. I realize that only one hour of your One on One is not really cost effective for you, but it has made a massive impact on me. One hour over the phone accomplished more than I figured out in months! I should have done this earlier!

Feel free to post this on your feedback page, and to anybody reading and wondering if the benefits justify the cost. Let me assure you that Adam’s knowledge is phenomenal and definitely worth it. The questions I had were not what I would expect Adam to deal with on regular basis but he still managed to provide meaningful advice and directions. It is a true testament to his knowledge and guidance skills.

PJJ, Cleveland

If you are in a bit of a rut and want to set up 2016 to be one of your best photography years yet, drop me a line and we can set out a plan for you too! theworkshop@adammarelli.com


  4 Responses to “Finding direction in your photography”

  1. Helpful info. Lucky me I discovered your web site unintentionally,
    and I am surprised why this accident did not took place in advance!
    I bookmarked it.

  2. Adam is one of the best teachers I have ever had. He is very insightful and is able to communicate his experience in a way that anyone can understand.

    • Gary,

      You are too kind…I’ve always valued mentors who could just “put it in english for me, plain and simple.”
      Happy to oblige.


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