Earlier this week, Brett discussed what it’s like to chase after your “White Whale” shot, that one perfect photo that’s been floating around in your head for a while and sometimes feels completely unattainable. It’s something I resonated with deeply, as it’s a struggle I face all the time in my own photography. Then it got me thinking…
What happens when you finally take that shot? How do you recover from your “best” photo?
Photography is, of course, subjective, so how you define your “best” shot may vary. For me, my “best” photo is the one I take and think, “Wow! This came out exactly how I wanted it to, and might just be the best picture I’ve ever taken!”
Throughout my time as a toy photographer, this has happened to me on a handful of occasions. Each and every time, a strange phenomenon happens. I don’t just feel exhilarated that I’ve finally caught my “White Whale” or that I’ve perfectly captured something in my imagination. I also feel a weird sense of dread and self-doubt. Then, I develop writer’s block (er… photographers’ block?) because of the pressure I now feel to take another photo that’s just as good, if not better.
When I take my best photo yet, I then wonder… Now what?
Can I possibly top the photo I’ve just taken? Will every subsequent photo look worse in comparison? Have I reached a new quality threshold that I have to reach from here on out? Can I possibly improve from here, or is this as good as I’m going to get?
The answer is always, of course, no! You’re not finished. You’re not “spent.” You haven’t run out of good ideas or “peaked” creatively. Every time I thought I’d hit that mark, I instead made the choice to keep going, and use my newest creative win as a jumping off point. What had I learned from taking that shot that I could apply to future photos?
“Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection.”
Don’t doubt yourself. Challenge yourself! Maybe the next photo you take will then become your “best” photo. Then the next, and the next…
When was the last time you took your “best photo ever?” Did you feel the same I did about mine? Share your story in the comments!
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