As I am anxiously awaiting my very busy and photography filled weekend I can’t help but getting caught up in the what if… What if the pictures aren’t good enough? What if I don’t nail at least one shot? What if I don’t measure up to all the other photographers out there? You see I have this problem… I am addicted to my RSS reader. Not only do I scour blogs for work related articles to share via social media and to stay up on the latest trends in web design and exhibiting, I devour photography blogs. If I find a photographer I like I subscribe to their blog, find a great resource with photography tips I – of course – subscribe to their blog. It is borderline addiction status. I am subscribed to over 50 photography related blogs. Told you I’m crazy!
I think it is awesome that there are so many wonderful resources and people right at your finger tips thanks to the Internet. Its even better that so many experts in this field are willing to share their photos, secrets, tips and post production information online for FREE. I eat the stuff up! I can’t stop reading, learning and exploring everything photography related. The information overload is great but lately its turned me into a debbie-downer. I look at all of these wonderful photographers and then I begin comparing my pictures to theirs. Some of these people that I religiously stalk online have been shooting for decades! And although I know I don’t even have an ounce of the same experience under my belt I still am comparing my stuff to theirs. Constantly measuring and comparing.
I hit the lowest of lows the other day when I was doing some post processing on a few photographs. I was in a rut. My photographs were too yellow or too blue and I couldn’t get them to feel at all like I wanted them to. I kept thinking about what if I positioned the person this way or this way or their hand looks all wrong in ALL of these shots. At first I was discouraged and then I became so angry! I couldn’t go into Lightroom for days. I felt like my work wasn’t good enough. That I had failed. While driving into work one morning I heard this quote on the radio and it was like I hit an ah-ha moment:
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
This really hit home for me. I am a huge Michael Jordan fan and a former college basketball athlete. It is crazy to think back to the amount of hours I spent failing at basketball. The hours I would spend in and out of practice trying to nail footwork, a play, a shot, a move. I could remember becoming so frustrated at moments it felt like I couldn’t breathe. But I never gave up. I didn’t care that I couldn’t play at Michael Jordan’s level or hell even at the skill level of some of my teammates. But I kept trying. I respected their level of talent but found a way to make my skill level work for me. It is so rewarding to look back at all of those hours that I spent failing and see why my career at Mount Olive was such a success. The comparison immediately hit home with photography.
It was exactly what I needed to hear. All to often I expect to be perfect at something the moment I start – when in reality you aren’t successful until you keep failing and failing over and over again. These failures show you what works and what does not. Right now I’m not going to nail every single shot. I am going to struggle to get the perfect lighting, exposure, pose, and post production consistency. It was like a I had a comin’ to photography Jesus meeting in my car. I was finally able to let go.
Let go of the pressure to be like these other photographers. Let go of the fact I don’t have the same amount of experience. Let go of the insecurities about what other people might be saying about my work. Just let go. I instantly became unstuck and I was able to go into Lightroom with a fresh set of eyes and finish my post processing. I think its great idea to follow photographers and other great photo related resources online to become inspired and to push your photography to the next level. But do not get caught up in the disappointment if you aren’t quite measuring up yet. You gotta fail to succeed. You have to take the blurry shot to find out how to create a sharp one. You have to have a photo that is too yellow or too blue in order to figure out how to get a photo that is the right color.
I am feeling much better and more inspired than I have in a long time. Although I may not be at the level I want to be yet, I am pushing myself to get there.
Bring on the weekend 🙂 I’m ready for some photo sessions and thrift store shopping!!