Personal Photography

Take lots of bad photos … to get to a good one

Taken from one of the expired rolls of film of buildings in the Sunset District in SF

I take a lot of photos, especially bad ones. Okay, maybe not bad ones but I take plenty of boring ones.

But once in a while, I’ll come across a photo that I actually like. I may not love it, but I’ll think, “Oh, this isn’t that bad.”

A few weeks back, I dropped off a number of rolls of film to be developed at the local photo lab. I had no idea what was on most of the rolls since some were old, but I was super eager to see what I took photos of.

I got the scans back and I just about died. They were so bad!

The most recent roll wasn’t as bad, but the other rolls really didn’t have any photos I remotely liked. The focus wasn’t great, the composition wasn’t great, I should have not been so close to the subject or I should have been closer, the color was off (expired film) and so on.

I was totally going to town nitpicking my photos.I got annoyed at myself.

I thought “Look at these horrible photos! Why did you waste your film on this picture?”  And to top it off, the recent roll I shot, I think the film was loose at times in the camera so some negatives were not fully exposed.


But I looked back at them again and realize it’s part of the process. Ask any creative person, especially those who you would consider talented and ask them if they like everything they create. Chances are they’ll say, “Hell NO!”

If anything, it reminded me of how far I’ve come as a photographer and not every photo I take is going to be great. As long as I keep practicing, the closer I’ll get to getting that photo I actually like.

It’s really easy to be critical of yourself about your photography but we all start somewhere. We gotta push through the negative thoughts we can have about ourselves about where we don’t “measure up” and know we just have to keep going and taking baby steps. One picture at a time.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts!