It’s inevitable. There will be those days that despite, my eagerness, excitement and abundance of high-tech gear, I will have a day of street photography where I come home with nothing. Nada. Zilch. Strike out.
Baseball players may hope for a home run or even a base hit when they are up to bat, but they know that sometimes they are going to hit a pop fly or strike out. Falling short may frustrate them, but they are soon up to bat ready to do it again. Why should I be any different when it comes to photography?
Admittedly, it’s frustrating especially when I’ve had to work to set aside time amidst the constant commitments and deadlines. It hard not to browse the images on the computer screen and not feel a palpable sense of disappointment.
But rather than allowing myself to fall into a mire of negativity where I am questioning my talent or capabilities as a photographer, I accept that it’s just a part of the process. It’s an opportunity to evaluate my images and my process to identify why I may have missed the mark and to avoid such mistakes the next time around.
Obsessing About the Outcome
If I go out there obsessed with coming away with a great shot, I’ll likely fail. I’m too busy judging what my eyes are seeing, rather than simply getting into a rhythm of shooting. I can worry about how good the images are later. I just need to make the images.
Not Taking the Shot
I have to remember that if I see something and it stops me in my tracks, I just need to make the picture. I can’t just raise camera to my eye and then second guess myself by not taking the photograph.
Exhausting the Possibilities
Even if my first image doesn’t nail it, it doesn’t mean it’s time to move on. I have to exhaust all the possibilities that may exist here by changing my point of view, focal length, exposure or depth of field. It may only be by being thorough in my photographing of a subject that will reveal the shot that I’m hoping for.
Walking Too Much
Sometimes, I am just walking around waiting for something to happen rather than just standing in place and really taking a scene in. When I stay put and let life happen around me, I can more carefully assess the light, the people and the background and slowly build a good shot.
There are times when I see something interesting happening or a great subject and I become paralyzed. I think too much about possible rejection rather than just moving in and making the photographs. Most times, people don’t have issues with me photographing them. I just tell myself no before my subject has the opportunity to.
Repeating My Own Cliches
There are certain photographs that I’ve become efficient at making. I could make them with my eyes closed. But I’m not here to keep making images that I’ve made before. I have to push myself to explore unfamiliar territory.
Willingness to Take Risks
I have to be open to make bad photographs, images that don’t work because I’m doing something I’ve not done before. Whether it’s working with a wider focal length or using flash, I have to create a challenge for myself in order to discover something new about my process.
Not Getting Closer
There is a certain “comfort distance” that I find myself shooting from, but if I want to create images that are more intimate, I have to get closer. Make the initial shot and then move in, shoot, move in.
Just turn it off. There will be plenty of time to look at the pictures later. I know my camera’s ability to deliver a good exposure and when I need to apply exposure compensation. Let it do its job and let me back back to doing mine.
I’m Not a Failure
I may not have come home with the shots I hoped for, but that doesn’t mean I’m a failure as a photographer. I’ve only failed if I stop shooting. Let me learn from my mistakes and get back out there ASAP.