Sometimes I Miss The Shot

Confession: sometimes I miss the shot. I know, I know... I am a professional photographer. I feel blessed to have been able to maintain this career for six years so far, but I have been "practicing" photography on some level nearly every day for over 15 years. Practice makes perfect, but I am definitely far from that.

When people say to me, "Wow, you have a nice camera—you must take amazing pictures," or "Wow, you always take the best photos," I chuckle a little to myself. It's not that I'm lacking confidence in myself or my abilities, it's just that those are loaded statements. Let me explain...

No one would ever say, "Wow, you have a nice car—you must be an amazing driver." The two don't necessarily correlate! You have to master the skills needed to drive that car well in order to be an amazing driver; the car doesn't drive itself. A "nice camera" is just a tool in my hand, so I have to work hard at mastering the skills necessary to take amazing pictures. It helps that the tool is one of the best, but ultimately I tell that camera what to do, when to do it, how much light to let hit the sensor and at what speed in order to expose the desired images with the desired amount of creativity. That process takes practice.

Regarding the second statement, no one would ever tell a football player, "Wow, you always catch every ball they throw to you." He would immediately recall every pass he dropped, bobbled or missed in practice or warmup in the last few days. The same is true for even the best photographers—people don't see all the blurry, boring, and terribly exposed images, but they generally far outnumber the tack-sharp, interesting, perfectly exposed images.

Be careful when comparing your own work to the work of others online or otherwise. You're looking at the best of their work and comparing to the worst of your own, which isn't fair. You HAVE to miss shots in order to get the keepers. And like the saying goes, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Keep shooting and keep improving, friends.