I make mistakes ALL the time! Little ones, big ones, embarrassing ones, dumb ones. Mistakes on top of mistakes. We all do, life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making photography mistakes and these are 3 of my most important lessons I’ve learnt to make me a better photographer.
1 – NOT FOCUSSING ON THE PEOPLE
When I started photography I was all about mastering the technical aspect of it. I was obsessed with lighting, exposures, compositions, all that boring stuff that my couples really didn’t care about. In a controlled scenario with plenty of time on my hands I could produce some beautiful photos, but in a live photoshoot situation with strangers I still cringe when I think about how I approached it! I’d setup my couple who were in the moment enjoying each others company. Next I would setup my light, walk away and take a photo. If the lighting wasn’t correct I’d walk back and adjust it. Then i’d walk back, give some instructions, play with my camera dials. All while the atmosphere was turning stale and my couples getting more awkward. I was passionate, but passionate for the perfect shot rather than the couples experience and at the end of the day I learnt that it doesn’t matter how beautiful you think your photos are if you don’t capture the moment.
2 – PLACING TOO MUCH EMPHASIS ON THE GEAR
My G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) started small. First it was a tripod. Then I needed a reflector. Next minute it was a speedlight, lenses, a new camera, bigger car, even a studio! It’s all good wanting to evolve and upgrade but I was crippling myself with thoughts of inadequacy if I didn’t have these things. It held me back from being confident in my service, product and self worth. It’s when I started to focus more on the customer experience that I was able change my mindset and kick my gear addiction. I still have my wish list, but i’m not held hostage to it. The lesson I have learnt is that having the greatest gear doesn’t matter, it’s the photographer that makes the photo. I’ve learnt to concentrate on other important aspects of running a successful photography business and to let go and be grateful to do what I love with what I have.
3 – PERFECTION
When I first started out I had great visions of grandeur about the kinds of images I would create. I was inspired and ready to share my passion and skill with the world. What I didn’t know is that much of that visual magic is knowing how to engage with my subjects, post production, and understanding light. It’s all good to dream but rather than trying to be perfect from the get go I had to work through my photography apprenticeship. Going straight for the jugular left me frozen and overwhelmed not know where to start and not being satisfied with the work I was producing. Now I take each shoot as an opportunity to be better than my last. To keep evolving, upskilling, making mistakes, learning from them and moving forward.