Above: Image by Gina Milicia
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.” – Richard Branson
When I was starting out as a photographer, I imagined opportunity would arrive at my front door accompanied by an epic movie score and beautiful lighting. I pictured myself shoot ready – I had all the gear and knew how to use it, and was wearing my best “this is how I get my big break outfit.”
In my dream photoshoot scenario, the people I photographed were confident, relaxed and looked authentic in front of my lens. The available light was gorgeous and abundant. The location was exactly what I pictured in my mind’s eye and I had plenty of space to move around and ample time to nail the shot.
My ideal “this is your big break” scenario was always in my preferred photography genre, using the style of lighting I am most confident working with.
The reality could not be further from the truth. In my experiences, there wasn’t a tadaaa or datadatadata moment like you see in the movies. Opportunity didn’t bother knocking; opportunity slid in the side entrance.
Opportunity is a master of disguise and deception.
All my biggest photography opportunities were disguised as gigs I had no skill or experience with and scared the absolute caca out of me.
At first, I found this incredibly frustrating. Why couldn’t opportunity just show up when I was ready? You know, like a Domino’s pizza. All I needed to do was line up my ducks, call “Opportunities-Are-Us,” and the rest is history.
The reality is, my ducks will never be 100% lined up. There is always something new to learn, something just beyond my reach. I couldn’t control when opportunities would show up, but I could ensure that I had enough of a skill set to get me across the line.
Here are a few tips to help you be prepared next time opportunity slips in the side entrance offering you your next big break.
- Keep your photography kit packed and ready to go.
- Always ensure your camera batteries are charged, and you have plenty of spare memory cards
- Try and pack your kit the same way each time. Getting into this habit will help you quickly notice when something is missing.
- Train like a pro athlete! Training means doing regular drills for focus, lighting, and composition. That way when that great shot presents itself, you will be match ready.
- Learn how to use your camera. If you have an hour investigate your camera’s menu options.
- Shooting regular personal projects that keep your soul full, reflect who you are as an artist and challenge and stretch your skillset.
- Finally, to quote Jon Bon Jovi, “Keep the faith” so that when (not if) opportunity knocks you’ll be ready.