Top down photo of the Blue Lake (Modro jezero), in Imotski, Croatia
Constraints are sometimes good, and learning to work with and around them ultimately makes your creations unique. The narrow sinkhole, shaped by earthquakes, and its location in the specific land type make this lake look so special.

“If I could do it, you can also do it” is something you often hear from many famous photographers-instructors. At first glance, it sounds like a motivating message and makes the person saying it seem approachable.

But my first response to a statement like that is always, “Maybe, maybe not!”

In today’s common need to constantly talk positively about everything, it rarely gets addressed that we are all in different situations. Some encouragements and tips, even when given with the best intentions, can only work for some people. For others, they might not, and even cause frustration and discouragement.

For example, I’m not a “struggling artist” desperately trying to make a living with my art. I am not forced to make money from photography quickly because I have a regular income. While I am careful not to spend unreasonable amounts of money on fancy equipment, I can easily finance a tool, a course, or a trip when I need them. More importantly, I am not pressured to make photos I don’t feel connected to because “they would sell.”

Then, I have a technical and corporate management background, so it takes me little time and effort to adapt to a new tool, understand a new photographic technique, or plan and organize activities.

On the other hand, I have obligations in my drone business which can take a considerable chunk of my attention and energy. Being always out and taking photos in the best light often isn’t possible for me. Neither is taking pictures everywhere I go as priorities and my mind often need to focus on something else.

Time is a massive constraint for my photography, and I have to find ways of making and using it effectively. Approaches and tips that rely on lots of time and require excessively long hours every day simply aren’t an option for me at the moment.

Then, there are other constraints. Sometimes less obvious to recognize or know whether you have them, but equally important. Any success will also depend on your determination, perseverance, support of the closest people, and health. All of them deserve a separate article, and I will likely write about them more in the future.

Finally, talent and luck also play a significant part, and there is very little you can do about them – other than do your best, test your luck, and be ready when an opportunity presents itself.

Of course, very few people have all of these factors on their side. Everybody has more of something and less of something else, and it’s all about using Your strengths and working around Your constraints.

It’s great to learn from others. It helps you progress faster, and in the case of great instructors, it can even be fun. But you should take everything they say with a pinch of salt and expect only some career tips to work for you, as the person who teaches you might have had some things working for them on which you can’t count.

And that is OK. Don’t be frustrated because you can’t do everything exactly like someone else, even if it is someone whose work you admire. You can’t copy someone’s entire road to success and shouldn’t even want to do that. Your background, circumstances, and constraints make you unique and are what will likely make your creations stand out in the end.

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