Today I took the pressure off. Instead of wasting energy wondering how I would make myself a better photographer and looking for a wonderfully interesting subject, I just stopped looking, and decided I would just shoot whatever I saw and loved.
Having had that little talk with myself, I promptly went about my day and forgot about taking any photos at all. Have to say, that doesn’t happen too often…but it was that kind of day around here, so I can forgive myself. Anyway, it didn’t occur to me to take my camera out until the kids had gone to bed and the house was growing quiet. I put the kettle on for my husband and I, and set about to have the most relaxing tea and cookies sort of evening possible (and they weren’t even homemade! Nor did I read the label before feeding them to my kids. THAT’S how desperate I was to relax. Yes, read into that every meaning you can.)
Ten minutes later, I looked over at the dining room table to see my perfect little teapot, half-full (not half-empty!) with lovely Earl Grey. And I knew I had to take that photo I’d promised myself.
A remarkable thing happened then: I stopped. And I thought it through. Not because I felt guilty for rushing in, nor because I’d been told to in a class, but because I just wanted to do the scene justice.
This whole time I’ve been actually causing myself stress (I have had to be careful with my breathing while shooting, because my nerves would sometimes cause my hands to shake terribly) trying to push myself into a moment like that. How counterproductive is that? All I had to do was let go, drop my mental high-jump bar a bit.
Final thought: Read “Why Your Best Is Good Enough” by Dr. Kevin Leman. That man just got credit for helping me become a better photographer.