YOU Should Be Your Own Worst Critic
Throughout my career in photography, I've often gone back through my photos to reminisce. But in doing this, I've learned a lot about who I have become and what I've learned over the years. I have surprised myself on numerous occasions in positive and negative ways. Sometimes I have sat in front of an image and been able to see it 'for the first time' and enjoy it after a ton of time has past. Time helps disconnect you from any emotional connection that may be over-riding your own 'photography eye'. Other images, I look at an image and question why I would have ever posted that...
Every single one of us want to be the best photographer we can be. Sometimes we're limited with our gear, or our location, but often times, none of those things matter. The limit we all truly have is time. Time is constantly ticking away and we often seem to waste it. We love to lay on the couch and peruse Instagram and 'waste time' in that way. I propose that you should slide on down to the bottom of your feed and sit with one of two of your images for five or ten minutes.
When you sit with an old image, there are so many useful things you can think about to help your continue to grow. The first reaction is usually a positive or negative emotion when it comes to your gut feeling of seeing it for the 'first time' again. If you get a bad feeling, maybe a feeling like, " Why would I ever post this image?!", that can be a very very good thing. That can mean you have grown as a photographer in a large way. Maybe it's the composition, maybe it's the exposure? It could be numerous things that you dislike. US THAT. Think about what you were thinking when you made the choice while taking, or editing, the image. Maybe you can then take that idea and look at the work you are currently creating and help speed up the process to the next step. You might be missing something in your current work that this can help fix!
Or, you look back at all your images and feel just as great about them as you did the day you took them. Woo hoo! Maybe. This might be a good thing and maybe you quickly discovered your style and stuck to it all this time. But this may also mean you've become complacent and you are stuck in a rut of sorts. We all get into a routine and before you know it, years pass and all your images look the same. This isn't always a bad thing. Maybe this specific style pays the bills. I still would push you to try to look at the older images with a fresh eye and see what other techniques you could try in the future, even if it's just for fun personal images and nothing you utilize for client work. After trying new things, you may find these techniques help speed up or improve your paid photography.
I hope you can look back and feel great about where you came from. It's always gratifying to see early work and compare it to where you are currently. We all want to be better, and what better way than to be your own worst critic!