Learning from my mistakes is nothing new to me.
In fact, the lessons I have learnt from my mistakes have been the most effective ones in terms of personal growth.
So when I decided to take a photography course in my first semester at Uni., it only made sense that the same theory would apply here. 📷 By the time I was choosing photography as one of my courses I knew that taking pictures was something I enjoyed doing, and that I wanted to become better at it; but I also knew that I had a lot to learn...
Before my first assignment, I expressed my lack of experience to my teacher. He was very supportive and was quick to encourage me to keep going; and because he knew that I needed extra help, he was also very quick to correct me when I was wrong all throughout the course - sometimes even in front of the whole class (which sucked) - but through all this I learnt so much!
Because of the approach I took to this class, I learnt a couple of things which I believe are worth sharing:
1. Have the right attitude. Whenever you are learning something new - or are trying to become better at something - it's important to approach the experience with the right attitude. I already knew a couple of things about photography, but I was eager to learn more. This desire to gain more knowledge affected the attitude I had towards the class, and it ended up working in my favour. It mentally prepared me for my teacher's correction, and also made me see it as his way of helping me become a better photographer; whereas, if I had gone in with a different attitude, I could've easily taken his correction in a negative way, and probably assumed that he had some sort of personal vendetta against me - which would've ruined the whole experience for me.
2. Stay humble. As the course went on, my pictures became better and better; but whenever I'd let that get to my head, they'd start getting worse and worse. Lol. It's funny how too much confidence can not only work against you, but can also affect the outcome of the things you do. I read a quote recently that gave me the perfect solution for this:
"Attempt easy tasks as if they were difficult, and difficult tasks as if they were easy; in the one case that confidence may not fall asleep, in the other that it may not be dismayed."– Baltasar Gracián y Morales.
What I interpreted this to mean is: Always Stay Humble. There's a name for "too much confidence" - pride. And it always comes before a fall - even in photography.
3. Point out people's strengths. Having the right attitude and remaining humble makes it easy to notice other people's strengths - and to point them out. Because I knew that I was there to learn, I didn't feel like I was in competition with anyone. I knew that some - if not most - of my classmates knew more about photography than I did at the time, and this didn't bother me. If anything, I sometimes saw this as an advantage, because now I could learn from them!
Also, because I was aware of how sensitive sharing your work in front of the whole class can be, and how much it can boost your confidence when someone compliments your pictures, I decided to actively compliment others and make sure they knew that I liked what I saw when I liked what I saw.
4. Make mistakes. This one is pretty straight forward, but I still had to learn it the hard way. Until you do something the wrong way, you don't realize that it isn't the right way to do it; until you make a mistake, you can't be corrected. It was only by taking "grainy" pictures that I realized that a high ISO and low shutter speed have a negative impact on the quality of my pictures; and it was only by giving names to other photographers' pictures that I learnt that I am actually not allowed to do that (that was a really embarrassing lesson to learn, by the way!) Lol.
See your mistakes as the keys that will unlock the doors of knowledge and improvement in your life.
5. Don't tell. Show. One experience in photography class that I remember quite well was when I tried to explain to the teacher an idea I had in mind for one of the pictures for our next assignment. I ended up giving a poor explanation of my idea, and as a result giving the impression that I was just trying to get away with doing the assignment the easy way - and still get a good grade. But before I realized the impact that the miscommunication had had, it was too late for me to explain myself. The teacher had moved on to something else.
So I decided that I was just going to show him what I had meant instead through implementing my idea in the next assignment.
And that's exactly what I did!
Coincidentally, that's the only assignment I got a 10/10 in! 😃 Not only that, but I also got the most positive feedback from my teacher on that picture specifically. I can't remember ever feeling so good about anything before! 😄
Not so bad for a beginner, huh? 😏
Some of the best advice I've received about photography was from fellow photographers. So in the spirit of sharing, is there any advice you'd like to share that would help other people venturing into a new field of interest? If so, feel free to do so by commenting below. 👇😊
I find it easier and more effective to write down how I feel rather than to say it.
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