As someone who took ballet for most of my life, I learned to embrace the saying “If you stumble, make it part of the dance.” In practice, it worked. I had to make it part of the dance or run off the stage for having stumbled. Which is better?

It happens to all of us. We’re not ready for a shot, we forget to change our settings or we’re not paying attention at the moment and we miss the shot completely. Instead of being so quick to throw away those images, don’t delete them directly from your camera in the moment. Get them home, upload them to a larger screen and take a closer look at what might just be your next masterpiece.

How I make mistakes

The featured image is the first example of a mistake. I was using a new-to-me camera, testing it out to write up a review of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III. Because I was initially unfamiliar with the camera and the lenses, I made quite a few mistakes using it. I did not get the focus on the area I wanted because I rushed. However, I ended up with this lovely spring-colored abstract.

For this particular image it was created at ISO 100, f/5.0 at 1/15s using the Olympus 60mm macro lens. In reality, I was trying to focus on these berries and the bright magenta stems. I was on my way back to my car so was not taking the time to slow down, settle myself and be still enough to actually take decent shots. I took them anyway, because it’s just what I do.


Here’s another mistake that still works for me. These little guys are quick and you never know when they’re just going to take off. I was ready, but not quite. What I was trying to do was pan so they were in focus and the background was blurred. Obviously I didn’t have my camera settings quite right for that so this is what I got.

For me, it still works, still shows their motion and playfulness. Will I be printing this or posting it up for stock or framing? No. It’s still a fun shot to look at and brings back all the memories of our little family of foxes we had last spring.


Mistakes happen

None of us are perfect, even if we are a professional and have been creating images for most of our lives. It happens. There are outside factors we have no control over, there are our own internal things that can happen as well. If you’re in a group especially you can be distracted and forget to reset your camera from inside where you just were to outside, or vice versa.

I say, go with it. Embrace the outcome. Sure, you’ll end up deleting many of them. It can still be worth it to go through them and take a look. You may have some really cool textures or overlay potential in some of the shots you think won’t work. Give it a try.