Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Are you traipsing along in a “comfortable photograph zone”?  Do you often find your photos to be the same-old, same-old?  What are you doing to learn a new approach or skills?

It can be easy in a hobby, or profession, to stick with the comfortable approach to getting the job done.  But is that approach helpful? Would you improve your skills by stepping outside your comfort zone and trying something that will challenge you?  Yea, Yea, Yea … you’ve heard that a thousand time.  But have you integrated that “outside your comfort zone” into the photography you do every month?

I suspect that some of you that are following FaA are probably in a rut.  I don’t mean to sound nasty … not at all.  But an amateur photographer may be on a comfortable trail to take more photos, maybe even work harder at their computer to advance their LR or PS skills, but never really step off the comfort trail.  Is that you?  What are you doing that is challenging?  Are you an advancing amateur photographer that steps beyond his/her comfort zone? 

I’m faced with a challenge almost every month that pushes me on a different trail.  To be honest, if I were “on my own” I doubt I would be exploring images in Silhouette, or Negative Space, or Vanishing Point, or Foreground Interest.  Sure, on occasion I might have (by accident) taken a shot or two with Foreground Interest.  I read articles about that and since I lived in the mountains there were times when I took some shots with flowers in the foreground and mountain in the background.

But what if you were given an assignment every month where you had to take Silhouette shots and enter them into a Monthly Theme Challenge?  It may not work for everyone, but it usually works for me.  The past month our Peer Mentor Monthly Theme Challenge was Silhouette, and I can honestly say I had never thought about a silhouette for any photo image … until this month.  I can’t speak for all my peer mentor friends (since I would categorize some as “professionals”) but I think many of our peer mentors are really pushed to try something new and it really helps them develop new skills.

I’m going to be sharing the photos from our Peer Mentor Theme Challenge each month to give you a little nudge to try something new.  I’ll include the theme for the coming month and if you would like to send me a photo of the theme, I’ll try to build it into the FirstAnAmateur Blog.  I believe one of the best ways to improve my photography has been to have others (in my case, my peer mentor colleagues) critique my photos and for me to be involved in helping critique the photos of other advancing amateur photographers.  

So here are the final 6 images for the Silhouette Monthly Theme Challenge.To view more details of these photos by seeing larger images, click on one of the photos and then use the arrows to move thru the 6 photos.  When you are finished, click on the “X” in the upper right-hand corner to return to the blog.  Which one or two do you think is the best silhouette image and what do you like about that image?

So, what do you think about these silhouette photos?  Which ones do you prefer as a silhouette  photo and what is it about the composition of the photos that makes you prefer them to the others?  The peer mentors and I would love to hear which silhouette photo you prefer the most AND why you prefer those photos.

When you honestly consider your own growth as an advancing amateur photographer, are you stepping out of the comfort zone?  Would you like to learn some new approach to your composition?  I’ll be adding some support to the Resources page in FirstAnAmateur.  I’ll include the top photos in each of the recent Peer Mentor Theme Challenges and the articles the peer mentor program uses for each of these challenges.  I hope you will find that these Resources give you a little nudge to get off the comfort trail and try something new.  

  And the Peer Mentor July Theme Challenge is MACRO … just in case you want to send me a macro photo for me to include in the July blog.