Jarrick Wenslow » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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May 172016

Photo copyright Jarrick Wenslow

Get Out and Shoot

Do you find yourself in the dumps about your photography at times? Do you find yourself lacking confidence with your work certain weeks? Yet, most people you know love your photos and say something similar to, “Oh my God! You are so talented, good job!” Well you aren’t alone. I am my worst critic, as I’m sure many of you relate to. I’m in an endless cycle in which sometimes I go out and photograph but don’t feel I’ve captured “the shot” of the day. I constantly feel as if I have missed some opportunity or just didn’t see it right in front of me. Constantly I nit pick at tiny details that, almost, no one is ever going notice. Those tiny details often ruin the image for me though. Well, if you find yourself in the same situation as I then continue reading.

For me, being my worst critic doesn’t just apply to photography. It follows me through my entire life constantly making me feel inadequate at moments. I have a simple four-word phrase to remind you how to alleviate this feeling. “Get out and Shoot”. It is truly that simple. Now some of you might say, “Well, if I don’t feel confident about my work why would I put myself in a situation where I can criticize myself more? My belief is that you are never going to fix the issue if you aren’t taking photos. You are going to criticize those photos whether or not you continue to shoot. If you “Get out and Shoot” at these times then you are simply allowing yourself the possibility of capturing an image that you are proud of. Think of it this way, if you were a chef at a restaurant but you weren’t confident in the food you were producing that day would you just stop cooking? No, of course not you would “Get in and Cook”. You can’t improve your outlook by avoiding the situation. I say, take the bull by the horns and do everything you can to change your outlook. Now when I say, “Get out and Shoot” I don’t mean go right outside your door and photograph. Here are three tools to use when you “Get out and Shoot”: make it an adventure, make it challenging, and make it yours.

Make it an adventure is an easy one to achieve. What I mean by make it an adventure is choose a location where you have never shot before. You can make it an adventure by going a little out of your way to a special spot, going to that spot you’ve always wanted to shoot at but haven’t yet, or my personal favorite simply driving down a road/highway until you see something that catches your eye. Make it an adventure and you will find that it’s easy to make it a challenge.

In order to successfully make a shoot a challenge try and photograph a subject or style you rarely try. For example, if you consider yourself a portrait photographer get out and try your hand at landscape or vice versa. Maybe you have never tried astro-photography, this would be the perfect time to get out and do it! Usually if you have made it an adventure and a challenge then you will more than likely be able to make it yours.

Making an image yours is the most daunting of the three tools. Often I feel as if my image has been done before. Think about it this way, you go on an adventurous shoot to Horseshoe Bend (Google it if you don’t know this location). If you know about Horseshoe Bend or looked it up than you probably noticed thousands of images look almost identical. A simple way to avoid this is by straying away from the obvious shot or as I like to say, the tourist shot. Simply by choosing a different viewpoint or many different viewpoints you can make an image yours.

Just this past week I was in the dumps about my photography. So what did I do? My friend Ryan Wesson (subject of the picture) and I departed Flagstaff heading east on Interstate 40. We had zero idea of where we were going and ended up getting off the freeway in Winslow, Arizona. From there we headed out to Clear Creek but we didn’t stop at the normal turn. We kept driving and found a different part of the creek, which wasn’t just off the highway. Now, I consider myself better at landscape photography, however, I chose to shoot him instead of the grand cliffs behind him because shooting the creek is what I would normally do. The product? I captured a photo of my best friend, which I love and am proud of when I lacked confidence.

About the Photographer:

Hi, I am Jarrick Wenslow; I am a sophomore and photography major at Northern Arizona University. I have been photographing for 5 years and counting and I love every single second of it. Photo fits perfectly into my life because I live a very active lifestyle going place to place. At the moment I am experimenting with every subject and style so that I can learn as much as possible and I can develop my own truly unique style. As an artist I believe it is my duty to never settle on how much I have learned and continue advancing.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at youcansleepwhenyouredead.com/wordpress/4th-annual-northern-arizona-university-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-projectPlease take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Jarrick would love to hear from you!