It is with the constant mantra of telling myself “We learn from our mistakes. We learn from our mistakes” that I bring you this particular post.
You may know my story of how I came to be a photographer but I’ll lay it down for you here just in case. I had just bought a DSLR camera in late 2005 to document my family as it was growing incredibly fast. My nephew had come along just the year before, I had inherited an instant family with Grant and the kids and then we welcomed Lily and Lulu around Easter 2005.
I initially bought my brand spanking new Canon 300D to try to take any photographs of my family – not necessarily good ones, just any photos. The only camera I had was the camera on my mobile phone and in 2005 you can imagine how great that was. After I began shooting I simply got hungry for more knowledge and devoured as much as I could over 2006 which in hindsight created the basis for where I am today.
In November 2005 I had a brilliant idea. I was going to make our first Christmas cards as a family and it was going to feature the kids and the dogs on the front of it. Our happy family. So I bought Santa hats, got the animals rounded up and we sat down to create what I envisioned. The kids looking at me with bright smiles and the dogs nice and quiet resting in their arms.
This was the reality.
Oh. My. God.
All of these were shot in Auto mode at ISO400, 1/400th, f/5.6 on my kit lens. I hadn’t even considered using it manually at this time and I had no plans of being a child, dog or wedding photographer. I just wanted to get some good photos for our Christmas card to really, lets be honest, impress all my friends and family. I also chose a location for its nice background rather than its lighting and today when I am shooting I work the other way around looking for the good light first.
The reality of this shoot was Ben throwing the ball for Lily and exhausting her just 10 minutes earlier, Lulu overheating and wanting to smell and explore the garden and 2 kids with no clue what to do. In the end I cropped out the dogs and (god forgive me) did a little selective colouring which at the time I thought was the bomb (I will not be showing the final image due to said selective colouring but I am sure you can imagine it). I think my only saving grace was I didn’t use fill flash (perhaps because I had no idea what that was).
In hindsight, as dreadful as these photographs were, the reason I wanted to share them was to show that we all start somewhere. Sometimes it is the deep depths of No-Clue-In-The-World like me, but its moments like these that help us move forward and grow.
I could have kept taking these mediocre photographs on Auto of uncomfortable subjects in bad light but after this fiasco I decided I wanted better. Not as a business owner or professional photographer but just for myself. That following year I explored, studied, practiced and by the end of 2006 I was shooting 100% manually, invested in a 50mm 1.4 lens and produced a Christmas card that was light years away from this parody of errors and managed to begin walking a path I never knew I was meant to take.
Its ok to make mistakes so long as you learn from them. The next time do something different and if that doesn’t work do it differently again until you get to where you want to be.