Photo by David Root

** This article is a re-edit and re-package of a previous article. **

I was thinking about how every photographer I know has a completely different path then the next. But what makes them similar? I was thinking about “modes” or “gears” that we shift into. But “phases” might be the appropriate word. “Phases” are stages of development. But you can refer to a “phase” as a “state” or “cycle” as well.

Here are 5 phases that we all shift into, cycle through, and/or embody simultaneously. Maybe there are more.

I. Learning.

Books, teachers, shutter speeds, apertures, etc.

II. Developing.

Experimenting, “developing” your style.

III. Working.

Productivity. Shooting and processing.

IV. Obsession.

There is nothing else. There is no back up plan.

V. Break.

Burnout. Brakes. Rest. Reflection.

When I say, “Working” I don’t necessarily mean being paid. I mean working on your craft. That goes for “Obsession” too. Some of the most obsessed guys I know have a regular day job and shoot after work and on the weekends.

What phase are you in today?