I am a self proclaimed perfectionist. I will nitpick and dissect, and wrinkle my brow in irritation when I think about how I could have done something better. It seems I am not alone in my quest for perfection. If you are the type who likes to
waste time hang out on photography forums, you will soon come to the conclusion that many people are seeking perfection. People post their photos and say, okay, give it to me, I can take it, what’s wrong with this photo? Then a dozen people line up to tell them, in their personal opinion, exactly what the problem is. Your color is off; too much, or not enough, depth of field; you should straighten your horizon; there’s a tree growing out of their head; that’s an awkward crop; there are seven pixels blown in your red channel. Sometimes, these things are true. Sometimes, the things that are pointed out may be so far off, that they are completely taking away from the quality of a photo. But, honestly, sometimes they really don’t matter.
Here’s the truth.
I know the difference between an in focus, and out of focus photo. Sometimes, I like out of focus photos.
I know when my blacks are clipped. Sometimes, I like them that way.
I know when a photo doesn’t follow the holy rule of thirds. Sometimes, I don’t really give a crap.
Art is subjective. To me, photography doesn’t stop being an art, even if it is my business. Yes, I do aim to create quality photographs with good color, good composition and good exposure. But, I know when to fold them and when to play them. I hold onto those mishaps; the imperfect photos that break the rules. Sometimes, I break the rules on purpose. That’s just the way I am.
All of this being said; you can’t forget that there is a middle ground. Just because you believe that the moment is what matters most, doesn’t mean you have permission to not give value to the technical aspects of photography. Before you can break the rules, you should know how to follow them and why they exist in the first place. After you know how to read a map, you can go exploring in uncharted territory.
Always aim to recognize the value in what you’ve done, while remembering that life (and photography) is a never ending journey.