When I think about the times my photography has been most frustrating, it’s rarely been because of the final image.
Of course I’m often disappointed with the end photograph, but I’m happy frequently enough to feel I can continue to build a body of work I’m pleased with and proud of.
No, when I’ve felt stuck and annoyed with photography, it can nearly always be traced back to the same source.
It might be that I can’t decide which camera to use. Or which lens to use, if it’s an interchangeable lens camera.
Which was of course much worse when I had 50+ of both.
It very often used to be which film to shoot next.
Should I pick one of my emerging favourites to increasing the likelihood of adding more satisfying images to my collection? Or a new (to me) roll of film, that might be an emulsion I’ve not tried before, something expired, or both?
Again this is amplified when you have literally hundreds of rolls of film in your freezer.
There have been a handful of occasions where I took so long to choose, I ran out of time to go where I wanted to go to photograph in the first place.
Which, when you have limited time for these pursuits anyway, seems ridiculous.
So what’s the solution?
How do we overcome this curse of indecision and stop wasting so much time and energy debating, when we could be out making photographs?
The antidote is actually very simple. In a word, commitment.
Once we commit to one camera, lens, film, and destination, we can put all of that deciding energy into enjoying the task at hand.
We don’t have to make this a commitment as permanent as a marriage or a mortgage.
It can be for a much shorter time.
But we need to set that time clearly and without delay, then get going.
Plus it doesn’t have to be complicated and layered either.
Make simple pledges, like shooting with one camera for the next 14 days, or one film emulsion for your next six rolls.
For example, I’ve found my One Month, One Camera (OMOC) project this year hugely useful.
Once I’ve decided to use just one (digital compact) camera for that set period of time, then I have no further decisions to make about the equipment I’m going to use.
It becomes completely binary, yes or no, on or off. I go with this camera, or I don’t go at all.
The challenge now is to find ways to make this work longer term.
My third month of the OMOC project ended a little early, as I felt I’d reached a natural conclusion in using the Lumix TZ2, and indeed these dead cheap yet charming older sub 10MP digital compacts in general.
But this doesn’t mean I don’t think the project as a whole has reached its end.
Quite the opposite, I love the freedom from indecision that it’s given me the last 90 days or so.
I’ll post an update soon about the next month of the OMOC project, and the equipment I’ve chosen.
In the meantime though, do you struggle with indecision in your photography? At what stage? What have you tried to help you overcome it?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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