Practicing Gratitude in Photography

Blog Author Richard Newman

Are you stuck in your photographic way of seeing? Do you feel like your work isn’t good enough? I’m rethinking the way I feel about my work, and this is a life-changer for me. Practicing gratitude: how do I use this thought process in my photographic work? Since I’m not conditioned to be grateful, it’s something that I’ll have to practice until it becomes my first and most immediate thought.

It’s a 3-step process that I’m going to distill down to 3 very powerful words:

1. Recognition

2. Acknowledgement

3. Appreciation

So many times I think about the pictures that I might have missed or wasn’t able to take. I think there is a certain amount of wanderlust that drives image makers, the desire to show something spectacular, never-before seen, breathtaking, awe inspiring. Thus, when we are confronted with our subject, we feel let down.

Here’s an example: I planned a photo trip where I was anticipating impressive clouds, grand landscapes and perfect weather. I had set aside three weeks for an Ansel Adams-type trip into the west. For three weeks, I didn’t see clouds. Actually, I did—but only when it was snowing! I was disappointed for the first week, desperate the second week, and during the third week, I began to understand how to work with what I was given. I’m going to share a few of the images from that trip with you now. They weren’t the ones I expected to make. However, the images that I made that week took me down a whole new road of image making, allowing me to create my own personal style and ideas. Not bad for what I thought was a failure. The one cloud picture that I did make on that trip, Lusk Wy, (below) has been reproduced over a half million times.

Little Big Horn

Pine Ridge SD

Big Tire

Scenic SD

For your inspiration, I’d like to share Louie Schwartzberg’s TED talk for your viewing here . . .

This journey isn’t going to be easy, but I expect it to be very rewarding. First, I hope to be able to begin the recognition process much sooner than I have in the past. I’m excited to acknowledge the beauty or magic in front of me, and I look forward to what I might find when I get out of my own way and appreciate what I have been given.

I’m grateful to be able to explore my vision and ideas here with you. As always, I welcome your comments. You may contact me at

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