FOMO: A Photographer's Guide

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There is never enough time to do everything. By making a choice to do something, you have the opportunity cost of not being able to do something else. It happens to us when we choose to work, do chores, or sleep in and when taking a moment to look at social media we find that we could have been on the coast during an epic sunset! 

There is a name for this and it is called FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. Naturally, one might say it is a good thing to be afraid of doing nothing. The danger lies within the extreme of believing that everything must be perfect. Thinking that if we weren’t at the ideal location every time the best light occurs the outing was a complete failure.

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It is never fun watching others enjoying experiences and finding the success that we could have had. Perceiving ourselves as fools for not going to that spot or booking the trip. The feeling naturally seeps into a routine as we are constantly aware of the potential of making the wrong choice in what we do with our time. Critiquing decisions made on the fly to stay or go and self-awareness heightened by the immediate feedback of live-streams showing where the optimum experience existed.

Most can relate to feeling overwhelmed by the amount of brilliant photography out there as well as the many contributions to stories about their adventures to capture new work every day. The reality is, nobody on their own can keep up with the treadmill that is social media. It will burn out the most talented and strong headed of us. I liken it to being overrun by a hoard of smartphone-wielding zombies feasting on the output of creatives and influencers. 

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If you can stomach a break from photography to release yourself from the grip of FOMO which is keeping you on that treadmill, do it. The immediate feeling of dread that you are slacking in your creative output will subside. Afterward, you will have revived that hunger for photography that made you so excited to take out the camera in the first place! The only real cure for the disease of FOMO is missing out and realizing just how little things can matter.

That epic sunset will happen again. The “storm of the century” happens every year somewhere. The milky way order rise again next month. Forcing yourself to practice your photography when you don’t want to and don’t slap yourself in the face when you choose to do something else when conditions are good. Enjoy the art of photography when you can appreciate the photographs others release, and stay hungry for images when you do find time to go out there!