DIYP friend, photographer Don Giannatti, has just published a new book – What I’ve Learned So Far: Four Decades in Photography. He kindly shared a chapter with DIYP readers, and you can read it below. But wait! You can also download the book for free on Amazon for the next two days. In the meantime, enjoy the excerpt Don has shared with you below.
In photography, as in most things in life, there are moments when you hesitate for reasons you may never know. Those small hesitations can be driven by fears, or unknowing, or simply because you had too many beers and are partially paralyzed from playing some sort of adult game that you cannot remember the name of BECAUSE your good buddy John and his girlfriend decided… wait. We aren’t going there.
Suffice it to say we occasionally hesitate.
And when we do, we leave the door open to a lot of other people to hit it before we do.
So it was for me and Polaroid transfers. I watched a photographer do one while on a roadtrip in Colorado. I LOVED the look, and he was very gracious and walked me through it.
Back in Phoenix I tried all sorts of Polaroid transfer techniques: Hot press paper, cold press paper, original images shot in camera, slides projected on Polaroid film… all sorts of methods.
I was the only one in the area doing it and I wasn’t showing anyone because I wanted to have this massive book of imagery to show. I wanted to blow the walls down with a half dozen different techniques that would rocket me to stardom.
Once I had the portfolio put together, I wanted to start showing the agencies… but I hesitated.
“What if no one likes this stuff,” it suddenly dawned on me. And I began to question whether the technique was really something they wanted to see.
A few weeks later, I decided to hell with it, I wanted to share this work with folks who may think it was as cool as I thought it was.
And they loved it. In fact, the first agency told me they had just hired a guy the day before to do a big Annual Report with the technique. A second and third agency all said: “yeah, we have been seeing this a lot in the last two or three weeks…”
My hesitation meant I lost first opportunity by a few lousy weeks.
By the end of the year, everyone and their brother was doing them and in another year or two, they were passe’… only a few opportunities to do them.
(Which, as an aside I will say – NEVER set your style on a technique. A technique can be learned and borrowed. Vision cannot.)
“He who hesitates is lost.”
“Strike when the iron is hot.”
All very important for photographers. No matter what we are doing, it is important to not hesitate unless there is a good reason. Wondering if they will like what we do means we weren’t sure about it to begin with.
Do you have an idea for a shoot? Do it.
Been wanting to change your style a bit? Do it. Now.
There is only now, and you and your work.
In the words of a great captain, simply “make it so….”
Waiting for that perfect moment is a fools folly.
There is no perfect moment… there is only NOW.
About the Author
Succeeding as a commercial photographer is not magic, it just needs some focus and hard work. Photographer Don Giannatti shares how it can be done. Don also runs the Project 52 Pros workshop for aspiring commercial and editorial photographers. You can visit his website here, online portfolio here, and his wonderful lighting essentials here. You can also find him on Instagram, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter, and download his new book on Amazon.