There are times, very rare and brief, that I ask myself, what am I doing this for? My quick and first answer is always 'for my art'. That seems like an easy out. I know that a lot of the reason is that the self esteem and pride that everyone involved in a shoots get when the finished product is presented is really the true value of all the effort.
The question is still looking for an answer that is more tangible. For me, it's going to be publishing and promoting classes I expect. For you, well, you should be asking the question and I'd hope the answer is at least the top two I mentioned. Of course, if you are doing this to put bread on the table...well, can't think of a more rock solid and easy answer. Of course, if your answer is that you just like to be around the young ladies....enjoy, but stop reading my blogs. I doubt someone with that reason reads photography blogs anyhow.
So, after 5 years of shooting, learning, traveling all over, and even wearing out some camera gear, it's time to be more serious about what I do and why. Not TO serious mind you. The fun of creation can be stifled pretty easily by something as serious and seriousness.
I think, besides publishing, it's time to frame and show some of my work somewhere. Maybe at an art festival? Don't know. I'm taking suggestions.
Meanwhile, along with that question of 'why' is that continuing pull to improve and excel over my own previous work. I'm starting to find myself editing a few images and at the end of the effort I sit back and grumble that it's not good enough. That's starting to reflect in my shooting style by spending more and more time thinking about a shot, framing the shot the best way, and taking fewer shots. It's painful in a way, but wonderfully enlightening in another.
Painful because I'm my own worst critic, enlightening in that I'm turning down some of my own work that a few months ago would have excited me and been worthy of my watermark.
So, taking some time to think about more tangible options for my art as well as pushing the learning curve and refining my style more. At least that last part is an on going effort...an effort I tend to love.
Push your limits and always stand back once in a while to see where you are at and nudge the wheel to take you where you want to end up. Or at least to the next 'stand back' place.