The Best Photos Come to Those Who Wait

Leonardo Da Vinci didn't get much recognition until he was 46 years old. Ansel Adams started as a pianist before picking up the camera. Van Gogh only sold one painting while alive. Yet, despite these initial struggles, each artist left an undeniable mark on the world. Their secret? A passion to create art even when no one else was interested in looking. Persistence is necessary to succeed in any worthwhile endeavor, including photography.

Largely considered one of the most influential photographers of the last century, Henri Cartier Bresson said "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst". Unfortunately some photographers give up before this, frustrated by results that don't meet their expectations. The hard-working photographer however, can use these mistakes to learn from and improve. It's time to dust-off those forgotten tools and put them to use. Imagine the possibilities of your next 10,000 images.

The ingredients of any spectacular photo are only one part technical. Sure, the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO are important. Yet, as any great chef will tell you, recipes are meant to be tinkered with. Today, we have more control over images than ever before. From in-camera settings to the digital darkroom, our pantry overflows with possible options. Rather than settling for the same tried and true formula, keep pushing yourself to learn new methods. Be bold in your experiments, and you just may stumble on a new recipe for success.

Commercials for the New York Lotto once ran the slogan, "You have to be in it to win it". I find the same concept true of photography. It's difficult to predict when or where the next great photo opportunity will arise. Only those who head out with their camera often will find what they're looking for. Overnight success is a myth. Most anyone who has accomplished something worthwhile first paid their dues with splendid effort and persistence.

Rejection letters are valuable material to save, or even frame. These are brilliant motivators for proving the naysayers wrong. Don't consider them as failure, but rather a reminder of the work still left to be done. As the Hall of Fame hockey player Wayne Gretzky said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Stay determined, work hard, and remain patient. The best photos come to those who wait.