I heart a great quotation in a CreativeLive class recently. Photographer Chris Orwig said “If you know it’s going to work, then it isn’t that big of a risk.” If you don’t take photographic risks and challenge yourself, it limits your opportunities to grow and learn. This quotation inspired today’s post where I’m going to share several shots that I had hopes for but just didn’t work out!
Shortly after Valentine’s Day, when the roses my husband gave me were looking droopy and sad, I had this idea for an image. I got my husband dressed up in nice clothes and directed him to stand in an upturned umbrella with the sad looking flowers. It was supposed to be about rejection and disappointment…and I absolutely could not get it to turn out!
In my mind’s eye, it was raining petals and leaves. Even though I wasn’t getting the connection and emotion I wanted, I proceeded to take some composting shots, anyway. “Just in case.”
My husband really is too patient sometimes! Look at the poor guy here – it looks like he’s expecting to get hit with the flying leaves. Actually, he was hit a few times by flying leaves…
These are far from the only shots that haven’t worked out. One day at a beach park, I spent about 20 minutes running back and forth trying to catch something I liked. Even though I used the same technique/setup I’ve used before, I absolutely could not get a shot I liked and that was in focus! I love the overall movement in this one, but the motion blur is too much on my hand and I’m pretty sure absolutely nothing is in focus. It’s one of the best shots from the experience.
Around Christmas, I put at least an hour into trying to create a dynamic still life. With compositing, the image was supposed to have the jar falling and look like it was knocked over by a gust of wind coming in through a opening door. (Yes, I come up with background stories for still life shots!) Once again, I absolutely could not get it to work.
I actually like this base shot, but, unfortunately, things got jostled and I was never able to get a “plate” to successfully composite the bamboo skewer out of the image. Trying to make snow look like it was blowing in never worked that well, either. I couldn’t ever get the angle quite right, and the snow was either in front of or behind the jar in a way that didn’t feel realistic.
I put a lot of time into this shot, and made quite a bit of mess in our living room, but ultimately did nothing with the images. It can be frustrating to put time into something that doesn’t work, but it’s also completely okay.
Sometimes shots just don’t work out and that’s fine! As long as you challenge yourself and feel like you learned something from the process, then it wasn’t wasted time. “Failed” shots are not failures – they are opportunities to explore, learn, and grow.
Do you ever find that it takes a few “failures” to find success with your own photos, projects, crafts, or art?