How Much Does Luck Matter in Photography?

I was reading an article the other day about photography and how you have to set up in time to capture the moments that matter the most.

Those moments that land you the amazing assignments.

Those moments that allow you to post a photo on Instagram and get thousands of likes.

There’s not doubt that the article inspired me to grab my camera and hit the trails to set up in time for those moments (the exact thing that the author intended).

But then I thought, “What if the moment never comes?”

Sure, it’s a thought that cripples many photographers to just roll over and stay in bed on early mornings.

What if that moment never comes? What if you get to the location and nothing happens?

What if the clouds never break up and the sun rises without spectacular color?

What if a storm rolls in and covers a wonderful sunset?

What if overcast skies block a monumental night photograph (this one has happened to me WAY too much)?

All of these questions made me think about how much does luck matter in photography? Is it enough to show up to locations? Will anything transpire for you to press the shutter if you’re out of luck that day?

I believe we can tackle that question in two ways and remain positive.

Yes, luck in photography matters.

But, if you’re out of luck that day, it doesn’t mean you’re not going home with any photographs.

First, setting up early only to sit through a sunrise that never provides any interesting color sucks. It’s really not something I enjoy doing. It’s like getting ready for a basketball game and hitting every shot in warm-ups only to miss every shot in the game when it matters.

Without a little bit of luck, the big photos you planned for won’t happen.

On the flip side, when you have luck, those photos you worked hard for are amazing and make your day!

Even if you don’t have luck or you miss out on an amazing experience due to uncooperative weather, it doesn’t mean your day is ruined.

You see, photography takes a little thing called perseverance and flexibility.

Even if your planned photo doesn’t work out, keep an open mind.

Start exploring for locations or compositions that will work for the conditions you’re dealt.

Look for smaller landscapes or macro photos.

Think about adventure photography.

Just don’t pack up your stuff and leave.

Giving up is the worst thing you can do when things aren’t going your way.

So, how much does luck matter in photography?

Well, I guess that all depends on if you decide to make your own luck.

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