No motivation

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#1 Ashurachan on 4 years ago

Hi guys long time no see ^^

In the past year, I've been shooting less ans less.
I did my last photoshoot at the end of April, and last time I pointed my camera at cosplayers was in July, during Japan Expo. During that event, I spent much more time at the concert hall than I did shooting, and the few shots I took were so lame I didn't take the time to process them.

I haven't touched my camera in months, last time I did was during a seminar at work (especially taking pictures of my drunk collegues at the party) and I didn't take the time to process my pics either.

I have more or less lost interest in cosplay - I still enjoy a nice costume, but the unending drama has made me cut ties with the community, and right now the only cosplayers I have contact with are people I enjoy on a personnal level. That's not a problem though. I feel better for it, in the end trying to fit in only hurt my feelings and sense of self-worth.

However, with my interest in cosplay, my interest in photography seems to have gone away as well, and this is much more of a problem since I have those pending photos some people have been waiting for. How can I motivate myself to shoot again when all I've ever enjoyed shooting was costumes ? I seriously don't know. I have barely used my new camera, since I can't even find enough motivation to work on video projects (I changed my camera mostly because I had these, and since then I haven't done anything about it but procrastinating).

So here's a question for all of you, how do you deal with your own lack of motivation ? What could I do to move back into the mood ? There are so many photographers that do a better job than I've ever done, I feel selfish for asking cosplayers to pose for me (even at cons, so let's not talk about shoots outside).

#2 nathancarter on 4 years ago

Sometimes you just have to force it.

I was like that for the last half of 2014. Not due to "cosplay drama," which is something I actively avoid, but due to general life stresses and a couple of specific events that really sapped my energy.

For 2015 I've made a resolution to do at least one big photo project every two months, or every month if I can manage it. And, some of those projects are intentionally forcing myself to step outside my usual comfort-zone and my usual skill set. My January shoot (The Last of Us shoot) is done and wrapped up and delivered; my February project is scheduled and about to happen, I just need to do some test shots (which I am doing tonight) and pick up a couple set pieces (next week); my March project is well past the "idea" stage and I have a cast of willing subjects, now I just need to hammer out details.

It's easier and more comfortable to just sit on the couch and play xbox, but then I'll look back and be mad that I was so lazy and complacent.


Comparing yourself to other photographers is only self-destructive. It doesn't accomplish anything positive. Admire them, learn from them, but don't stop work because you're "not as good." Y'know what, there will always be someone better than you, with better equipment than you, and a bigger network of more beautiful friends. This is true no matter who you are and what you do, but especially true in any form of art.

Stop beating yourself up and just get out there and do it. Force it to happen, even if it's not fun at the time. You'll grow, and get better, and your work will show it, and before you know it you'll be able to look back and see something that you're proud of.


Pithy sayings and motivational words rarely work for me, but I found both of these to be helpful:
[url]http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2015/01/21/arting-hard-like-an-artful-motherfucker-25-ways-to-be-a-bad-ass-maker-who-makes-bad-ass-stuff/[/url] (some nsfw text language)
[url]https://fstoppers.com/business/stop-holding-out-and-share-those-images-57688[/url]


Personal note: You don't have to participate in "the drama" to be involved in cosplay. Everyone has opinions, some people are jerks, you don't have to put any weight in the opinions of jerks.

#3 fam-cosplayphotographer on 4 years ago

We grow as human beings and there are times when photography will be in the back of your mind, life keeps us busy. However, kind of like what nathan said, when you have the free time to sit and do something like play video games, you could be doing something more worthwhile like shooting. To me cosplay is a hobby that I enjoy, if youre not enjoying it, find something you enjoy shooting, and if there's nothing its possible its just a generalized depression not photography related and thats completely understandable too. We all go through funks. There are times I dont want to do a paid portrait shoot, but as soon as I get myself there and start shooting I find the joy again, I challenge myself to do better each time, not to make the same mistakes and slowly evolve it to a personal challenge. I get that it is personally deflating to see amazing work from others, we all have to deal with that too but hard work trumps talent in the end...it always does. Keep working, force yourself out there just like Nathan said and get outside your comfort zone so you can find new things you love, and mark off the things you now know you dont.

#4 Access on 4 years ago

I just pace myself, if I'm falling behind on processing or don't have enough time, I stop going to as many events or taking as many photos in general. And if there is a backlog, trying to do at least a little bit each day (even if I'm busy) helps.

I honestly do my best to not compare myself to other photographers. There's a preponderance of good photographers out there today, so I do try to focus on what I really care about rather than just trying to do everything.

#5 Ashurachan on 4 years ago

[QUOTE=nathancarter;4949900]Personal note: You don't have to participate in "the drama" to be involved in cosplay. Everyone has opinions, some people are jerks, you don't have to put any weight in the opinions of jerks.[/QUOTE]

It's not about participating in the drama, it's just the fact that drama is so prevalent that you can't be part of the community and not get more or less involved in it (the French community is small and pretty much centered around the Paris area, where I live). I basically had to cut myself from people I once was friends with, that I saw grow as cosplayers or photographers but are now 'important' and see me as not interesting anymore since they have outgrown me. The ones I'm still on good terms with are people who still see themselves as fans first, people who do costumes just for the love of characters and that I spend more time fangirling with than taking photos of.

Comparing myself to others is no use, I know, but even seeing my own photos is depressing now. With the lack of practice my ability is not just stagnating, it's decreasing. I haven't used artificial lighting for over a year, if I tried now I think it would be even worse than the last :/
Yeah, I sound self-deprecating... but that's really how it is right now, I know only shooting more could resolve that, but at the same time I have less and less opportunities, since I distanced myself from the community and can't move much because of my family.

I guess I should launch one of the video projects. See if people are interested, at least... but yeah, procrastination :/ Because when I go back home after work, my remaining energy goes to preparing some food and taking care of my kids, and then it's 9 PM and some days I even lack the energy to play videogames and just spend some time trying to catch up on my facebook feed. The only thing I have a bit of energy for is maintaining my Vocaloid blog (one song a day, it's almost been a year), because Vocaloid is the new love of my life (even if I don't write music myself), and musicians who hide behind virtual pop stars tend to be much less prone to drama than the bunch of show-offs that gravitate around cosplay, and have managed to give me back a bit of faith in the creative side of humanity.

#6 ItsTroy on 4 years ago

You could try and explore different areas of photography if you want to avoid the cosplay drama.

Take pictures of your kids. You said you live in Paris, which happens to be a very popular tourist destination. Take your camera everywhere you go and document life around Paris. Try some cityscape photography. Set up a in-home studio and try photographing anime figures or other small, interesting things. The options are limitless.

I get my motivation from following many cosplay photogs of different styles and checking out post-con photos. I recently got into cosplay videography and I get excited seeing the videos that are put out after conventions. You have to remember that a lot of the photos you see come from people who have practice. Everyone started out somewhere.

Last option would to just drop photography as a whole and sell your equipment. Photo gear usually holds onto value very well, so you could break even if you spend some time selling. Then you would have money to pursue new interests.

#7 nathancarter on 4 years ago

[QUOTE=Ashurachan;4950024]It's not about participating in the drama, it's just the fact that drama is so prevalent that you can't be part of the community and not get more or less involved in it (the French community is small and pretty much centered around the Paris area, where I live). I basically had to cut myself from people I once was friends with, that I saw grow as cosplayers or photographers but are now 'important' and see me as not interesting anymore since they have outgrown me. The ones I'm still on good terms with are people who still see themselves as fans first, people who do costumes just for the love of characters and that I spend more time fangirling with than taking photos of.[/QUOTE]

That's understandable.
For me, it helped a lot to realize that not everybody has to be my friend. Many people are simply ...acquaintances, maybe? Not quite friends. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

This especially holds true for people in the cosplay community, or other areas where our only interaction is for photography or cosplay. Sometimes your circles just don't overlap any more.

Sometimes you associate with people only because you have something to offer each other - and this doesn't have to be a bad thing. If those former acquaintances grow as cosplayers and get popular, they get the attention of more skilled photographers. Likewise, if you grow in skill as a photographer, you can expect to shoot the "popular" cosplayers - the ones who don't need the services of mediocre photographers.

But even when you get really skilled, you still take pictures of your friends with their just-passable costumes - because you're friends, and you like hanging out with them.



[QUOTE=Ashurachan;4950024]I guess I should launch one of the video projects. See if people are interested, at least... but yeah, procrastination :/ Because when I go back home after work, my remaining energy goes to preparing some food and taking care of my kids, and then it's 9 PM and some days I even lack the energy to play videogames and just spend some time trying to catch up on my facebook feed. The only thing I have a bit of energy for is maintaining my Vocaloid blog (one song a day, it's almost been a year), because Vocaloid is the new love of my life (even if I don't write music myself), and musicians who hide behind virtual pop stars tend to be much less prone to drama than the bunch of show-offs that gravitate around cosplay, and have managed to give me back a bit of faith in the creative side of humanity.[/QUOTE]

Trust me, I get that: The lack of energy, or the other interests (or demands) that are taking away from photography. Sometimes you just put it down for a while, and maybe come back to it later. Or, sometimes - if it's important to you - you force yourself to do it even though you don't WANT to do it, in order to make some sort of advancement and achievement. Staying up till 1am to process and deliver photos that you're tired of looking at, or setting up for a more elaborate shoot when it would be so, so much easier just to lay in the bed and look at tumblr.

#8 Access on 4 years ago

[QUOTE=nathancarter;4950430]
For me, it helped a lot to realize that not everybody has to be my friend. Many people are simply ...acquaintances, maybe? Not quite friends. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

This especially holds true for people in the cosplay community, or other areas where our only interaction is for photography or cosplay. Sometimes your circles just don't overlap any more.
[/quote]
I find the same, knowing when to step back; and knowing when to just show up, do what you do, and move on; that can avoid a lot of the drama that is out there.

Even good friends know and understand this, that sometimes friendship or togetherness has to be put aside for other more important things (ie. family). You're not really looking out for someone if you insist that they choose you over people or things that are more important to them.

#9 Ashurachan on 4 years ago

[QUOTE=ItsTroy;4950421]You have to remember that a lot of the photos you see come from people who have practice. Everyone started out somewhere.[/QUOTE]

This is not much of a comfort for me, since I actually started long before most of them (I've been photographing cosplayers for more than ten years).

On acting like a tourist in Paris and taking photos of monuments and such : well, it's not really my thing, I like to take photos of people rather than things ^^;
I did this shoot once though :
[url]https://www.flickr.com/photos/ashurachan/sets/72157634835498995/[/url]
(just one morning to do all... quite difficult to get most of these actually, because of people, traffic and whatever didn't fit the 'old Paris' feel of the shoot).

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