A wise farmer once told me, “Knowing what you know now got you to where you are now, but it’s not going to take you to where you need to be, because if it did, you would already be there.”

That phrase has always stuck with me.  Well, first because that wise farmer is my dad.  Secondly, because it has always inspired me to push myself in my career as a photographer, as well as in life, to constantly be in pursuit of that which you love. God will do the rest. If you feel like you are unqualified to step into your role, that’s the perfect place for God to be able to pour into you what you don’t have to succeed in it. If we already know it all, there’s no room for Him to do anything.

Sometimes, I go through days where I feel like I am completely unqualified to be a Photography Leader at Elevation Church. It feels overwhelming, knowing the position that God has allowed me to be in and the weight it carries. Knowing that there are not only my team members that rely on me to lead them by example, but also the fear of failing. Fear drives us into an unhealthy place most times and keeps us from moving forward. It keeps us from doing the hard things. It keeps us from facing the pain. But, as leaders, we are called to do hard things. As creatives, we are called to do unexpected things. Because it’s the unexpected things that captures one moment and turns it into a complete experience.

Always remember, the place where you are struggling the most is the place where you will find the most joy when you break through and overcome it.

So, how do we, as leaders, step out and lead a creative photography team?

Attitude: Remember, your attitude to a reality sets your spiritual compass to creating your next reality. You either have the attitude of one that follows, or the attitude of one that leads.

Refocus: Refocus off of your ‘to DO’ list, and switch it to you ‘TO BE’ list. The sum total of your life isn’t what you are, it’s who you are going to be. This is more than a career and it’s more than being a leader, it’s a calling. God created you for a calling. There are not obstacles standing between you and your calling, only sacrifices.

Sacrifices: As leaders, we take a back seat in a car that is driving someone else to their full potential. It’s not our job, but our humble opportunity to be able to empower others in a calling that we ourselves are already operating in.

Challenge: Stretch yourself as a creative to go out and learn a new photography skill to pass along to your team. Light painting is a great skill as a photographer to pick up and learn, and it’s as easy as searching great ideas on YouTube and Instagram. Then there’s double exposure, fiber optics, and a whole host of challenges to take on…but that’s for another article. 😉

Photography is a consistently ever-changing art. It’s forever improving, updating, and creating new and unique ways to create and capture. Have you written down goals of where you want to be and what you want to do as a photographer and/or as a leader? Go learn whatever you need to learn to get there. I promise, it’s worth it.

1 COMMENT

  1. Much of what you’ve said here is relevant to other creative avenues as well. For example, I’m a bass player and your sections on “Refocus” and “Challenge” really struck home with me, and especially your sentence “Always remember, the place where you are struggling the most is the place where you will find the most joy when you break through and overcome it.” There are techniques (one in particular) that I’ve avoided learning because it would be difficult. But you’re right – I definitely feel that this is a calling and I need to grow. It WILL be difficult to learn that new technique but what joy when I finally “get it”!

    Thanks for posting this! Also for posting your Dad’s advice – I’ll pass all of this along to my kids.

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