The Biggest Reason Photographers Fail

My quest to become the best photographer I can be has encountered many failures, but if I truthfully examined the reasons why I failed each time, some common elements always seemed to appear. Take a look to see if they might apply to you, too.

When I got my first job in Japan, there was a poster on the back of the shared office door of Michael Jordan sailing magnificently high through the air. And accompanying that mesmerizing image was his famous quote about failure: the one that talks about the shots he missed, the games he lost, and the buzzer-beaters that didn't find the net. Every day, I'd look at that quote, and eventually, I used it with my Japanese students, because they are notoriously shy and afraid of taking chances and making mistakes. But, how does all this relate to why photographers fail?

That question brings us to this great video by First Man Photography, in which he examines the biggest reason photographers fail. If you lined up 20 photographers, whatever the genre, and asked them to think of their biggest reason for failure, you might come up with a list that includes things such as inappropriate gear, poor light, bad timing, uncooperative subjects, and many more. These can certainly hinder our photography journeys, but they are not the biggest reason for failure. That comes from you and what goes on inside your head. To learn more about how your own insecurities and internal chatter are holding your photography back, give the video a look and let me know your thoughts below.

Iain Stanley's picture

Iain Stanley is an Associate Professor teaching photography and composition in Japan. He has presented at conferences globally and written for numerous international publications. To learn more about his work, his life in Japan, or how he plans to semi-retire at 64, check out his writing on Medium by clicking the website link above.

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