Learning from our mistakes is so much easier said than done. It’s much easier to beat ourselves up, or worse…give up. But life is full of making mistakes, especially the creative process. Amy Rhodes, our Las Vegas CONFIDENCE Teacher, is not only an awesome photographer but super down-to-earth. She sent me this story and asked if she could share it with all of you. When I read it, I was overjoyed because I know you are going to love it!
Learning from Our Mistakes (with a Kitchen Aid and Red Hair), by Amy Rhodes
A few weeks ago my daughter and I were making my son a birthday cake. She just turned 5 and she loves to help me cook. She’s a pro at cracking eggs, measuring ingredients and eating raw cooking dough!
I needed to start preheating the oven so I turned around for one second to turn on the oven.
When I turned back around my daughter was leaning over the Kitchen Aid. The next thing that occurred happened so quickly, yet it seemed to go in slow motion. I saw a section of her long, red hair dip down into the mixing bowl. Within a nanosecond the mixer whipped up her hair. By the time I was able to shut the machine off my daughter’s head was pulled all the way down to the place where the beater locks into the motor. She was screaming, as expected. I was trying to remain calm while attempting to untangle a horrible mess. Fortunately for my daughter and her beautiful red hair, I am a pro at untangling knots. I was able to work the hair out of the motor and free her from the clutches of the beater. Once she calmed down she had one thing to say to me. With tears in her eyes she told me she was never, ever going to cook again.
I have a feeling this same thing has happened to many of you. I know it’s happened to me! No, we didn’t get our hair stuck in the motor of a mixing bowl, but we may have had a bad experience with something we love to do – photography. Maybe you had a bad session where absolutely nothing went the way you planned. Have you ever returned home from photographing a wedding and realized you lost several images on your memory card? Maybe you had a client email you after you presented them with their images and they told you the pictures were not what they expected. I don’t know about you, but all of these things, and many more I didn’t list, are just as painful as getting our hair stuck in the beaters of a Kitchen Aid. There have been a handful of times over the past couple of years where I had a horrible experience and wanted to give up on the thing I love, my photography.
I wish I knew who penned one of my favorite quotes. It says, “Be brave enough to try something new and smart enough to know you can’t please everybody.” I look back at the images I took when I “thought” I knew what I was doing. The photographs are horrible but the learning that came from the mistakes is beautiful. Each dreadful image is just another step I took to becoming the photographer I am today. Does everyone like my work? That would be a big fat NO! Do I care? Not really. I have gained confidence in myself and in my work. I know I am doing my best. When I make a mistake with lighting or composition I study those images and figure out how to correct the error for the next time. I have come a long way over the last couple of years and the progress I see is such a gift! Mistakes and accidents are bound to happen. If we are smart we learn from them, not throw in the towel because of them.
I asked my daughter several times after the beater vs hair battle if she wanted to help me bake something. Every time she told me, “no.” About 3 weeks after the incident I asked her to help me make sugar cookies for her Valentines party at preschool. I looked at her and said, “Clara, we now know what we need to do so that never happens again.” I took her long hair and pulled it into a tight ponytail on the back of her head. It was a simple solution, a lesson learned. She didn’t need to give up her love of cooking. She pushed the kitchen chair over to the counter and started cracking eggs into the Kitchen Aid bowl.
What have you learned from your mistakes? Share them with me in the comment section. I can’t wait to hear them and learn from them!
Winter is the most WONDERFUL time to take a photography workshop! Amy has a workshop coming up in Las Vegas on January 11th. Class size is limited to give you lots of one-on-one time with Amy! Get all the juicy details here!
Do you LOVE silhouettes?