All Photographers Will Fail

It's a fact of life for us. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, you're going to fail at some point. It's not the end.

While this video is aimed toward landscape photographers, I think it applies to all of us. It's easy to look at the work of others, see nothing but spectacular images, and assume that other photographers are somehow better than you. In doing that, you're overlooking the massive amount of work that went on behind the scenes and more importantly, the plethora of failures that led to that success. No photographer, videographer, musician, etc. is successful all the time, and this very open look into the more private happenings of Thomas Heaton's work shows that. 

You can't go out and every time and get success; that's not how it works. You need good fortune, good light, good knowledge of an area, and persistence and tenacity. That's how we make great images, not by getting up, going to a location, and nailing it every time. It just doesn't work, and it were that easy, it'd be really boring... If you've had a bad day... just put it behind you, try to learn from it, and keep going, because the rewards are so worth it.

I so enjoyed hearing Heaton speak about the reality of finding success, but I think the raw audio of him cursing and doubting himself is the most revealing. I can't count the number of times I've spent 12 hours working on music only to wake up the next day and throw it all out in a mild fury or how often I've stared at an image in Photoshop for 90 minutes only to realize the composition was poor and nothing was going to save it. Failure is useful: we learn from it and it makes the successes all the more worthwhile. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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