Embrace failure

“Luck – or perhaps serendipity – plays a big role… But you never know what is going to happen. And what is most exciting is when the utterly unexpected happens, and you manage to be there at the right place at the right time – and push the shutter at the right moment. Most of the time it doesn’t work out that way. Street photography is 99.9% about failure.” – Alex Webb

Street photography is all about failure. As Alex Webb said, “Street photography is 99.9% about failure.” Every time you click the shutter, there is only a .1% chance that you will make an interesting shot. The majority of the time, you might shoot an entire day, not get a single good shot, and feel disappointed and frustrated.

Know that failure is a good thing. The more you fail, the more likely you are to succeed. As Thomas Edison once said: “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.”

You can control the effort, not the results. Meaning, you can control putting in 8 hours of shooting in one day, and how hard you work. What you can’t control is whether you get a good shot or not.

In my street photography, I often found that the more I go out and bring my camera, the more “lucky” I get. When I have my camera with me, the more opportunities I see. Luck isn’t some magical thing that hits us like lightning. However luck favors the prepared.

Be prepared by always having your camera with you, always observing your scenes and environment, and know that every once in a while, you will be at the “right place at the right time.” If you’re comfortable with your camera and skilled enough, you will also click the shutter at the right moment.

When you fail to get the shot, don’t become discouraged. Rather, learn from your failures and mistakes. What caused you to miss the shot? Was it because your camera wasn’t setup properly? Was it because your camera was in your bag (and not in your hand)? Was it because you were too nervous and didn’t have the courage to click the shutter?

Learn from your failures, and the closer you will become to mastering your photography.

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