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3 Things We Can Learn About Relationships From Professional Photographers

3 Things We Can Learn About Relationships From Professional Photographers

Like many professions, the things that can be learned or taught in a classroom are often not the most valuable skills a photographer will need to build the kind of career one needs to be able to support yourself on the proceeds from your art alone. Photographers frequently need to be dog whisperers, child psychology experts and a host of different kinds of therapists and counselors.

It’s easy to understand how this is true shooting family portraits; dogs just don’t understand the need to pee before you spend 20 minutes getting the two adults, two pre-teens, a toddler and an infant all perfectly posed; and that toddler – who loves posing momentarily for a random Facebook pic for mom – has no idea why she is being asked to sit still and smile again and again and again for a total stranger.  But what about the Bride on her wedding day who, when given some time to think about it while you are shooting her pre-wedding photos, suddenly decides that perhaps her soon-to-be groom sitting in a room just a few doors down is not actually “The One”? Or the High School Senior that suddenly blurts out that she’s 3 months pregnant in the middle of her senior photo shoot?

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Like hairstylists, photographers seem to have an interesting way of being made instant de-facto therapists by their clients. Perhaps it’s that photographers, like hairstylists, give people the one thing that deep down we might all want more than anything: to be seen. Not just glossed past visually, but really, truly seen as we are, and for who we are. With hairstylists, it might have something to do with actual physical space – it’s hard to imagine that anyone that close to us physically could not genuinely see us for who we are – and so we open up to them in ways we might not do with even our closest friends and family members.

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With photographers, the reasons may be somewhat different but the effect seems much the same. While a photographer might not invade a person’s physical space the way a hairstylist does, they do in fact quite literally shine a light and point a lens at people in such a way as to leave little doubt that they are genuinely seeing everything. But I think what really makes us open up to total strangers like photographers and hairstylists, is that unlike our friends and loved ones, we don’t feel judged by them. We feel evaluated by them, but somehow we know that when they evaluate it’s always for the purposes of helping us be better – which we know (or at least believe) they have the expertise to do. We almost never question our hairstylist’s desire to help us be beautiful or our photographer’s desire to look our very best in our photos.

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And maybe there are some life lesson in there for the rest of us. If people practically bend over backwards to open up to those they feel genuinely seen by and even more importantly accepted by, might that give us some key information that helps us in our own relationships? Here are a few things I think we can learn from photographers that might help us interact better from our fellow man:

1. Don’t make a suggestion…

…unless you genuinely have the skills necessary to help make an honest improvement.

2. Make sure the person you want to correct knows that they are genuinely seen and accepted

Before you try to help someone, let them know that what they’re already doing is good–and that you are trying to help them, not change them.

3. When you’re angry at someone or just not “feeling the love” – try and look at them the way a photographer would.

Try to create the very best possible light for them to stand in, and the best background for them to be shown against in a way that showcases and highlights their best features. Chances are good that when you choose to look at them that way, they will start to look better to you in a way that helps you “feel the love” once again.

Featured photo credit: epSos .de via flickr.com

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3 Things We Can Learn About Relationships From Professional Photographers

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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