Step Outside Your Comfort Zone with Tamara Lackey

Moira West

Tamara Lackey

Photographer Tamara Lackey strives to push herself as an artist, as a business person, and even as a mother and a wife. With her unique outlook, she inspires many people to stay fresh and agile. We talked to her to find out if photographers really need to step outside their comfort zone to make magic happen. Here’s what she had to say:

Staying motivated

Tamara believes one of the main reasons you should test your limits is to keep your work fresh. “I think it’s hard to stay motivated and inspired when you’re constantly doing the same work day in and day out. And one of the easiest ways to recognize you’re in a rut is when you find that you’re no longer seeking out something new.”

She’s found many photographers choose to stick with what they know because they’re afraid to change what works. “The problem is that frequently looking for and trying something new can feel wildly uncomfortable.” Although it’s uncomfortable, trying something new is often the key to improving.

Changing a little bit at a time

Still, Tamara suggests that you don’t have to throw out everything you know. Just look for something new, be it new locations, angles, or lighting. You can even make changes to your marketing or business plan, like Tamara did when she created the “About Me” video below.


Style: Documentary
Song: “Junebug” by Lana Palmer


“I think, like anything, once you’ve pushed yourself into a new situation a few times, the extreme discomfort lessens and lessens every time. It doesn’t matter what it is — you start to recognize that you can try new things, feel uncomfortable, and still be fine.” And once you know you can manage those new situations, it becomes easier to take them on.

For example, Tamara and her husband started a non-profit called to help orphans in the US and abroad. She shared, “I had no idea how to run a non-profit or even how to start our first project. I had a massive amount of I-don’t-know-how-to-do’s on my to-do list.”

She didn’t let her discomfort stop her, though, and she was even able to integrate what she knew — photography and running a small business — into her charity work. Even though she’s still not 100 percent comfortable heading up her non-profit, she knows that’s okay. It just means she’s building a new skill set that will make her better at what she does.


Style: Documentary
Song: “Amazing Grace” by Faith Riviera


Keeping your photography fresh and your business growing is tough if you’re afraid to make a mistake. But the way Tamara sees it, “When you expand your horizons, you often discover new talents and a joy for your work you may have never known otherwise.” Push yourself outside your comfort zone and find out what you’ve been missing.

How are you pushing yourself as a photographer and a businessperson? Let us know in the comments below.