Photographer James Popsys recently fielded his audience for questions. One of them was asking what he believes is the worst habit a photographer can have. His answer, in a nutshell, is how photographers can, and often do, assign blame for their failures on everything but themselves. I have to say, I completely agree.
It’s a tough topic because, on the one hand, we don’t want to crush our own spirit. We don’t want to believe that we are the failure. On the other, we need to be honest with ourselves if we want to improve and prevent these issues from popping up again in the future.
Usually, failures are our own fault. Maybe we blame the subject we’re shooting when we simply don’t know enough about the genre. We also blame our gear when it’s often our own technical inabilities that have let us down. Sometimes, things are simply out of control. Perhaps the weather isn’t working for us, or the guy who said he’d be there to open up the venue at 8am didn’t arrive on time. But it’s still our fault for not having a backup plan to go to in the event things don’t go the way we want. Because, let’s face it, plans don’t usually go completely to plan.
We’re all guilty of it at some point. Nobody can honestly say they haven’t ever assigned blame for something that was their fault. But ultimately, whatever happens when we shoot our camera, good or bad, the responsibility to get the shot lies with us.
That doesn’t mean that we’re bad. It just means that it’s a lesson learned that we need to correct for next time. Just be honest with yourself about what’s really the cause of the problem. Perhaps it means you need more research on a specific genre of photography, or you need to read and play more with your gear to understand how it really works, or simply have contingencies in place for when everything goes to crap.
Because it often does, especially if you shoot on location.