Your First 10,000 Photographs are your Worst…
You’ll often hear the standard words of wisdom when you start any new endeavor in life – “The Journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” And while that may be true, it isn’t always the most encouraging of statements when you’re looking to learn or accomplish something new. In photography we have our own words of wisdom: “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” Not exactly warm and fuzzy advice, is it? “If you have to get thousands upon thousands of photographs under your belt before you get good, then why bother?” is what some might say. Don’t give up, though, as you’re about to find out, the lessons you learn taking those first 10,000 or so photographs are going to put you on the path to taking some extraordinary shots in the very near future!
Don’t believe us? Read on to find out how those early efforts contribute to you becoming a much better photographer…
You Walk Before You Run
If you’ve ever spent any time exercising, you know that you must warm up prior to engaging in more advance movements. If you don’t you wind up hurting yourself. The same principle applies to photography. Your first 10,000 photographs are your “warm-up” period. While you won’t get hurt by skipping over this introductory phase, your photograph quality will most certainly suffer.
Part of what you’ll learn during your early days as a serious photographer is simply how to best physically engage your camera. Just as a musician must take time to “break in” even a world-class instrument, you must take time to get used to your camera. What does this button do? How do I change the flash settings? Questions like these, and dozens of others, are answered as you “warm-up” as a photographer and get better acquainted with the equipment you will use down the road.
It’s never easy to go slow, but that’s just what you should do when you’re first starting out. When your camera eventually becomes an extension of you – as it will with a bit of practice – you’ll realize just how important it was to spend time easing into becoming a more experienced photographer.
Developing Your Eye
As a photographer, you probably want to share your vision with the world. Everyone who picks up a camera wants to capture photographs that represent the way that they see a fleeting moment in time. Few, however, ever put in the time and effort it takes to develop their own perspective as a photographer. If you can put in the effort to grind out those first 10,000 or so photographs, you’ll slowly but surely develop your own, unique perspective. And that perspective will permeate all of the photographs that you take for many years to come.
Think about how many iconic photographs were taken using cameras that pale in comparison with what we have available to us today… This proves that it is a photographer’s perspective – or eye – that really makes a picture that is, “worth a thousand words.” By putting in some grunt work early on, and experimenting with different types of photography styles, you’ll develop your unique perspective. Later on, when you look back at some of your early photographs, you may cringe a bit, but you’ll see that your skills were a work in progress that ultimately led to you developing a unique, unforgettable photography style.
It Doesn’t Happen Overnight
Every new photographer will struggle with the fact that most of his/her photographs don’t come out looking perfect. However, as you’ve read from this post, perfection doesn’t happen in a single day. You will put in your time snapping what may very well be some horrendous photographs. But as you get used to using your equipment and start to develop your personal perspective and style, you’ll soon be capturing some shots so good that you may even amaze yourself! Keep on working hard and clicking away; you’re getting better as a photographer with every photograph you take!
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