Good photographers take bad pictures.
When you view the work of an experienced photographer, you see the finished product. It’s polished. Absent from the final image are the countless days of planning and preproduction, the meticulous editing, and the many failures and learned lessons from years of self-development.
Nobody is perfect on day one. Even now, five years after deciding to pursue photography seriously, I am still growing and improving. That’s the required mindset to stay good. You must systematically eliminate weaknesses. To prove that point, I chose this photo of the New York City skyline. It’s an O.K. image, not my best, but the purpose for taking it was proving to myself I had matured as a photographer. Why? Because three years prior (seven years before today), I made this monstrosity.
I can’t begin to illustrate all the things wrong here, so just read the user comments from when I submitted the image to Digital Photography Challenge.
The negative review that post received motivated me to improve. It gave me a baseline to grow from. Once I learned the basics of photography, it was all about practice, practice, practice. You don’t notice the change day to day, but when you look back, the difference in skill becomes apparent.
My advice, similar to what Ira Glass recommends, is to never surrender. Every passion requires skill and skill takes time to develop. You won’t stop making bad pictures, but you’ll learn from each mistake and grow the quality of work to a much higher level.