WHILE I was backing up my hard drive, I happened to see the first few photos I took when I was just starting out in photography. It wasn’t a pleasant sight – embarrassment was the immediate feeling I had. I know that we have to come from some point but I didn’t realize how bad my pictures were back then.
If you’ll look at it in a positive perspective, the more tragic your photos would look in your early stage would mean that you have gone a long way. The idea is to get better as you age in experience. If you’re not, something is terribly wrong.
I was listening to a local radio program one time and I can’t help but relate their topic to photography. In the program, Mr. Tulfo described journalism as wine – it tastes better as it ages. Celebrity stars are like milk – it tastes good only for a short period of time.
Photography is similar. Maybe there are rare exceptions, but generally, we don’t hold the camera the first time and produce breathtaking pictures instantly. We have to go through the process of refinement and realizations. We have to experience rejection only to reveal the truth that you’re not there just yet.
Recently, I finished shooting a calendar for a client. I did the same project last year and was jubilant to have been chosen to do the calendar this year. I said to myself, I must have done something right to get awarded the same project again this year.
The project turned out to be one of the challenging projects I had this year. I was commissioned to shoot 12 sets, and of the first six sets I submitted, four were rejected. This is the part when you start to doubt yourself or blame your client. You can either give up, continue to fall down, or take it as a challenge.
In commercial photography, creativity comes in when your client wants it differently. It was a wakeup call for me to lift the quality of my work a notch higher. Not the most expensive lens or camera can pull you out of this kind of situation – this is a matter of skills.
I ended up having a sumptuous lunch with the client. He was satisfied with the outcome and very much excited to see the results in prints. It was definitely a morale booster and a ton of experience added to my confidence. Keep on shooting, everyone!