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No Such Thing as a Bad Photograph

No Such Thing as a Bad Photograph unless…

You need to know there is no such thing as a bad photograph unless You Did Not Stop to Take It.

You need to start somewhere, sometime, and somehow. Let me explain.


We make this harder than it needs to be. Do you develop expectations of a place or perhaps a portraiture setting you are planning? Maybe you are going to photograph an event? You fill your mind with ideas for photographs. You have a list perhaps if only in your mind of what you plan to do. You arrive there and you find that somewhere or event is not what you expected.

On my recent trek to Shenandoah, I had many preconceive expectations. I was dreaming about the overlooks and trails. My plan is to make a lot of beautiful photographs looking out over the valley. I arrive to find the sky to have a grayish dull haze. Not exactly what I was looking for. So, what would you do? Maybe throw your camera in the back of the truck and drive away? I might have done that, but this is somewhere and I’m here and diesel is almost four bucks a gallon. So…

The key is to be open. You accept what is there. Drop the expectations and look for what is there. Start by making an inventory. What are the elements? Ask yourself questions. How might your knowledge and experience guide you? Ask is there a better time of day? Maybe instead of making a sweeping landscape, the view of the tree in the meadow is more interesting.

Do believe in Karma? Everything has a reason a time and a place. Later the haze became the key element making the Shenandoah sunsets stunning. I’m glad I stopped to make the photographs.

Sometime My Work Sucks

It is very hard to motivate yourself every day, you think “My work sucks.” Well, so did mine and sometime it still does. Here’s the key make the photograph anyway. Maybe today it sucks but if you make a photograph and study what you did and think about what you might do differently, IT WILL BE BETTER NEXT TIME. Photography is a craft that is learned by doing. The skill you lack today will become second nature to you. The photograph you are unable to make today will be your masterpiece tomorrow.

To be creative whether you’re a photographer, painter, sculptor, songwriter, you must practice, study, and learn your craft. You must start. You will fail. So, learn why you failed and start once more. Small steps lead to bigger steps. The creative process is filled with peaks and valleys. Enjoy the success today and find the strength to climb out of the valley tomorrow. Being creative is personal. It is about sharing your art with someone. It is hard. It takes time and it takes your love of the art you do.


The how is the vision within. You must have a feeling, a passion inside yourself, a love if you will, to make your art. It is that learning of craft. The practice, the exploring outside of the box that launches you on your creative journey. You need to take those sucky photographs. Study them over and over. To look back and then grow as you learn about yourself and the work you create.

P.S. Want more like this? I send these articles out to friends, photographers, and art lovers who want to improve their skills, and explore their creativity or simply enjoy my thoughts and stories and I would love to include you.

Tell me where to send it and I’ll send you a copy of Seven Moments an eBook, as well as articles, sneak peeks of my new work, and very occasional info about resources to help you with this creative craft we love.

1 thought on “No Such Thing as a Bad Photograph

  1. I loved the read and was amazed by the images to ensue. I always love a good, motivational read. I love that you made your entire message applicable to more than just photographers, making it more relatable. Thank you for sharing your message and energy!

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