The Big Difference Between Inspiration and Motivation

The Big Difference Between Inspiration and Motivation

What’s the difference between inspiration and motivation? As creative individuals, photographers should not only know the difference, but understand how to keep themselves both motivated and inspired.

I believe that motivation generally comes from external sources. It’s a reward-based force that compels you to do something. It gets you out of bed in the morning; it makes you want to continue to improve your craft; it turns ideas into actions.

But inspiration is different because it comes from an internal source. It’s what comes before motivation, and usually after an honest look inside yourself. When a photographer sees something visually fresh and new, they may take an inward look and tell themselves, “I can do that,” or “I can do that even better.”

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Join our next webinar: “Inspiration: The Pro’s Secrets to Finding and Keeping It.”

While motivation is usually short term and task-oriented, inspiration is long-term and goal-oriented. The need to make a difference, or the desire to feel that your work is part of a greater good are inspired feelings.

The most difficult part of your career isn’t learning how to operate a camera or a strobe, or how learning to run a viable business, or even figuring out how to market yourself. The most difficult lesson in your career is something you generally can’t learn in school – and that’s how to stay motivated and inspired throughout the duration of your career (and life.)

People who are inspired will not only motivate themselves, they will motivate others as well. Everyone loves the company of people who are inspired because just being around them makes everything seem possible. People (you, your customers, other photographers) love the feeling of being inspired and optimistic.

I believe every person has the capability to inspire others. People who do this with regularity tend to have more clients, more business, and more fun in their jobs.

Because inspiration is a life-long series of internal examinations, I thought I would ask a few very inspired, motivated, and experienced photographers to share their thoughts on this topic. These are people who have been inspiring me for years, and figured that they’d have some great things to say.

And indeed they did. The results have been turned into a whole webinar presentation, with personal appearances from 9 photographers who have been busy inspiring me for years.

The webinar, titled “Inspiration: The Pro’s Secrets to Finding and Keeping it“, will be presented live, on April 8, 2011 from 1pm – 2:30pm. Pre-registration is currently open, and free.

Here’s the ‘official’ webinar description:

Join PhotoShelter founder Grover Sanschagrin for the second installment of the MAC-on-Campus/ PhotoShelter student webinar series “Beyond the Classroom: A Photo Student’s Guide to Turning Pro”. In this session, Grover takes a deep look at inspiration – where to find it, cultivate it, and maintain it – because inspiration can be the key factor that sustains a successful career as a pro photographer. Grover calls on the help of 8 successful photographers from various specialties to share their insights on how to consistently stay inspired. You’ll hear from Ami Vitale, Tim Mantoani, Casey Templeton, Robert Seale, Corey Rich, Scott Strazzante, Brian Peterson, and Michael Schwarz. Grover and guests will cover personal projects, generating motivation, finding new ideas and subjects, developing instincts and trust in yourself, finding new directions, finding balance, avoiding burnout, and finding new ways to promote yourself.

This webinar is Part II in our series called “Beyond The Classroom: A Photo Student’s Guide to Turning Pro.”  Part 1, about marketing your photography online, was recorded and is now currently available on the PhotoShelter blog.

I hope to see you at the next webinar, logged in, motivated and ready to be inspired.

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There are 4 comments for this article
  1. John H. Maw at 6:42 am

    Interesting post. I agree and yet we talk about being inspired by other things and people. Could it be that motivation is on a more rational level and inspiration on a more emotional level. How about this. Motivation is often in response to something. I want to buy something so I now have the motivation to work harder to afford it. On the other hand I may discover a new location and be struck by its beauty. That may inspire me to make photos in that place. Anyway, we know what we mean.

  2. Sushant at 5:10 am

    Inspiration is like a flamed match stick while motivation is a flamed torch burning continuously. Inspiration can be said as intrinsic motivation sometimes.

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