Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Perfectionism Kills Creativity

For the past 3 months I have been trying to learn and perfect two different photo editing programs. The learning curve is HUGE, the older I get the longer it takes me to "get it".

While learning these programs, I have been trying to shoot in RAW mode to create the optimum editing material. Then trying to edit it so I have the perfect picture. That's the end goal isn't it?? The perfectly composed, perfectly edited photo.

Found on Pinterest
Along the way to the perfect photo I lost my creativity.

I am still on Day 19 of Ali Edwards 31 Things writing class. Now, mind you, this class started in mid May and finished in mid June. It is now the end of July. What is holding me back? I took the pictures for Day 19 two weeks ago, but I was so focused on the composition, the lighting, the shooting in RAW, learning the editing process that I lost the story.

I think for me life is about the story, about the words. The photos are there to accompany the story, but they are not the centerpiece for me, the words are, the story is.

So I am going to go back to shooting in jpeg, using iPhoto and getting the best I can out of my photos straight out of the camera. This way I can restore my creativity and let the words flow out of me again.

I am going to keep working on learning the photo editing programs, just on a smaller scale . I am going to work on shooting still life pictures to do my editing on, then there is no need for a story to accompany them...unless I want it to.

I see this as the best of both worlds. My creativity and my stories will be restored, and I will continue to learn without the pressure of trying to make it perfect.


  1. Sarah, I so agree with you. Editing is great when I have have the time and motivation. I "snap" photos to document life around me and life isn't always perfect. Getting caught up in the search for perfection gets in the way enjoying the moment.
    Take the pressure off, enjoy the ride and creativity will flourish!

  2. I agree with you completely, Sarah...when you try to force creativity, it always falls flat. It needs to be organic and spontaneous - that's when your best work comes forward. You give wonderful advice here - it's a great reminder, especially for someone like me who is also a recovering perfectionist! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

  3. I'm with you!! There are so many interesting apps and programs to play with, sometimes we have to remember what make us feel most creative without any pressure!

  4. I think we all tend toward one one or the other -- words or pictures, you know? I know my strength is more visual and the processing stuff come easily too, but tell me I have to write a story in 500 words or less to explain the image... ACK! I break out in a cold sweat!

  5. Hi Sarah, what a great post. Just this evening i was trying to get the "perfect photo" of a beautiful hummingbird. While i was playing around with all the dials and knobs on my camera, she flew away. A lesson learned!

  6. I have to agree with Jessica. My mother always says, Pick your poison:) Meaning you can't get or do it all. So pick what you feel your gift is...and go with that area. We are not made to do it all. My area is the visual...I HATE I try and let that area go with the perfection glasses. Great post...

  7. Although our creative side can be our livelihood, when it begins to feel like work it is just another job.

  8. Yes, do what works best for you! Getting things out of you and expressing yourself is the goal, right? Someday you'll master these complex programs... maybe. I accept that I probably only use 1% of their abilities and I'm ok with it right now. :)


Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)