A couple weeks ago I decided that I would face a photographic fear and head into the forest with some lights. I tested them before I left, making sure I understood the basics (how to turn them on) and brought some extras with me, like a sheet, to diffuse the light. When I got to the forest with my friend we began setting lights up, and when it came time to trigger them, nothing happened. For 2 hours. And I was losing light. So I called up some friends and they tried to help, but everything seemed fine. So finally, when I took the batteries out and put them back in, it worked!
I was thrilled…until I saw how the light looked, and realized I didn’t have much time to experiment. So I had my friend hold up a sheet in front of the light to diffuse it. I played with distance of light to subject, tried a rim light, and kept playing. As I was shooting I knew I didn’t like the pictures, but I thought it worthy of continuing. I recognized, right then and there, that if I stopped, I would get nothing from the shoot. Yet if I kept going, I would teach myself valuable lessons.
My pictures are not images that I’m proud of because I like how they look. Quite the contrary, I very much dislike looking at these images. I would not put them in my portfolio. But they are among the top images I have ever learned from, and just how much I dislike them tells me how much more I have to learn. Humility is a great gift, and I welcome it with each failure I endure.
Share with us an image you feel was a failure, or share a tip that you learned from messing up an image!
Mistakes are successes that we learn best from, after all.