Every time I edit a photoshoot, I begin with the “yes/maybe/no” process.
It’s the process of sifting the wheat from the chaff, of tagging the gem photos and disposing of the rejects.
And I notice that whenever I see a reject, I have a temptation to blame someone (or something) else for it. When a photo is amazing, I want to take all the credit.
Most recently I photographed a family and it was one of those jobs that kept throwing curve balls at me.
The weather was overcast, so I couldn’t light them in a way that I really like. The kids were not very interactive, so it was a challenge grabbing those amazing candid shots. The dad looked like he didn’t want to be there, which affected the overall mood of the group.
In the end, I pulled out every trick in the book and nearly bent over backwards to make this shoot turn out – and it did. As it stands, the family will receive 52 great shots from the day.
But the shoot also produced an unusually large amount of reject photos. And as I began to sift through them, I was tempted to complain and whinge in my head about the damn weather, the kids, the Dad..
All those excuses about how they made my photos worse than they should have been came pouring into my head.
You don’t have to be a family photographer to relate to this. I’m sure any creative worth his salt will know first hand about not performing as well as they know they can.
But here’s the thing. When you find yourself at that point, you’re at a crossroads.
To one side is a path of blaming something/someone outside yourself for the result. Yep, the weather, the blah blah..
To the other side is a path on which you to recognise that even though those circumstances existed, you were the one responsible for allowing them get in the way.
Yep, the weather was crappy, but it was my choice not to move the shoot to a sunnier day. And it was also my choice not to bring strobes with me to give me flexibility in lighting.
Sure, the kids were unenthused, but it’s also my job to know how to deal with kids more effectively than even their parents can. What skills can I learn between now and my next shoot to help me snap kids out of a bad mood?
And the grumpy Dad? It’s also my job to make sure everyone who attends my photoshoots is swept up in the excitement of it. What can I do next time to make even the most bored Dad come alive?
If I take the first path, I take myself off the hook and get to feel a little bit better while I whinge about something. If I take the second path, I put myself completely on the hook, but get to experience power.
When I take the second path, I get to have a say about how the next shoot turns out. With the first path, I’m at the mercy of more circumstances.
I think one of the most important skills self-employed people can develop is learning to be wholly responsible for ALL of the results they produce.
When you’re self-employed, there’s no big bad boss to tell you how to do things. There’s no one to keep you to account. Except you.
And the quickest way to grow, to experience power and success is to not allow excuses and complaints get in the way of your own personal power.This is a guest post by Steven McConnell. He is a professional family photographer based in Sydney, Australia and you an see his work here. Body Photo Credit to Steven McConnell
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