Nov 2, 2009


Hey mom and dad - look, I'm not a failure! :)

Okay, this video clip should not be used as an excuse if you are lazy and need a something to justify your actions. However, for the majority of us out there who work hard to improve our photography skills, whether professional or not, sometimes life just calls us a "failure". This little clip will inspire you to keep moving, despite what other people are saying.

You've probably heard or seen a few of these stories before, but I'll bet you'll find a new takeaway at the end of the 76 seconds and decide to do something you may very well fail at. I'm sure you can make your own list of things you would do "if you knew you could not fail", but for the record, here are a few things that I need to do:
  1. Call the executive at xyz company and schedule an appointment to present my work
  2. Approach 5 strangers on the street for a portrait session
  3. Enter the Leadville 100 mountain bike race (as a rider :)
  4. Work on my public speaking
We've all heard the "failing speech" before. I'll be the first to admit that sometimes failing at one thing will push us to an area we are better to pursue anyway (read the book Strengthfinder 2.0). However, the greatest accomplishments in my lifetime have come after repeated failures. This happens all of the time in photography, especially location work, where things can be somewhat unpredictable. Take this sports photography image of a water skier. This image was created as a personal project, but with completely different intentions than the outcome here. My original concept was to capture an action shot of a water skier at the peak of a cut from within the water. We hit some horrible weather about half-way out to our location and had to turn the boat around. To avoid total failure, we decided to shoot a lifestyle shot that would still capture the essence of water skiing. We sped back to the harbor, to avoid the approaching lightning storm. With waterproof camera case in hand, I jumped into the water (not advised during lightning storm) and within about 5 minutes, I knew I had a nice image with quite a bit more drama than I had originally anticipated to work with. For those interested, the lighting set-up was a single light, camera left without any diffusion and held by brave assistant (light stands are not advised during a lightning storm). Plan A had failed, miserably. We didn't even Ski! Because we were open to other possibilities, the failure turned into one of my favorite images. Now, it doesn't always happen like this; and if this had been an advertising photography campaign shoot, with a high paying client, creative director on set and the whole enchilada, then the concept would have been executed the next day or whenever the weather decided to let up. Even then though, there's still an opportunity during some of those shoots to trust your instinct as a photographer, what you see, convince those around you and create something anyway, sometimes better than what had been storyboarded. Failing is good. Okay! seriously. Fail quickly and frequently and most importantly learn from those failures. Persistence pays off.

*Preferably, don't fail on high profile, once in a lifetime jobs (dream commercial clients & weddings come to mind).

Kevin Winzeler Photography


Chase said...

Nice post! I love that video, especially the part about Walt Disney. You sound kinda busy these days. I guess thats a good thing though. If you tire and want to get out for a round of golf let me know and I will take you to my dads course here in Sandy

Any Girl said...

Great Thoughts! Here you exhibited so many of the traits I admire and appreciate in you.