Pro Col­umn

Land­scape ex­pert Mark Bauer ad­vises on the im­por­tance of tak­ing time off

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Land­scape pro Mark Bauer talks the im­por­tance of tak­ing some time off

For many peo­ple, be­ing a full-time land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher is a dream job. And to be fair, most of the time I feel re­ally priv­i­leged to be able to make a liv­ing from land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy. How­ever, as with any job, if you’ve been do­ing it for a while you can be­gin to feel a lit­tle jaded. This is es­pe­cially true if you’re not spend­ing enough time do­ing the fun bit – tak­ing pic­tures. The re­al­ity is that you spend a lot of time sit­ting in front of a com­puter screen writ­ing about land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy, a lot of time help­ing oth­ers im­prove their land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy, and pre­cious lit­tle time ac­tu­ally tak­ing land­scape pho­tographs.

As a re­sult, I found that I was feel­ing in­creas­ingly weary. They say that a change is as good as a rest, so I tried run­ning work­shops in new places and be­ing more se­lec­tive in the ed­i­to­rial com­mis­sions I took on. This worked for a while but early in 2018, the jaded feel­ing had re­turned. It be­came ob­vi­ous that what was needed was in fact a com­plete break.

For­tu­nately, a sit­u­a­tion arose in late spring which meant that work just had to take a back seat. So for four months, I led no work­shops, did very lit­tle tu­ition and wrote just a hand­ful of mag­a­zine ar­ti­cles. Although not great fi­nan­cially, it was good for the soul and with plenty of work booked for the au­tumn, I con­vinced my­self not to worry too much about money.

At first I thought this would be an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity to head out with the cam­era and con­cen­trate on my own pho­tog­ra­phy, but the re­al­ity was that my creativ­ity had hit a low point. Rather than strug­gle with this, I de­cided not to put pres­sure on my­self and only go out shoot­ing if I re­ally felt mo­ti­vated. I ended up tak­ing a com­plete break for a cou­ple of months. Dur­ing this time, I did very lit­tle pho­tog­ra­phy and didn’t even think much about it. This turned out to be ab­so­lutely the right thing to have done. By the end of the sum­mer, I’d re­gained my en­thu­si­asm, was champ­ing at the bit to get out with the cam­era, felt ready to meet clients again and by tak­ing a step back from the day-to-day run­ning of my busi­ness, had re­alised how I could re­struc­ture things so as to avoid burnout.

All of us oc­ca­sion­ally suf­fer from these feel­ings of weari­ness and lack of creativ­ity. My ad­vice would be to ac­cept that you need some time out. If you take it, you’ll come back re­freshed and more than ready to pick up the cam­era again.

PRO BIOMark Bauer has been a full-time land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher for over 15 years and writes reg­u­larly for the pho­to­graphic press. His lat­est book, Land­scape Pho­tog­ra­phy from Dawn to Dusk (co-au­thored with Ross Hod­dinott), was pub­lished ear­lier this year. MARKBAUERPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

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