The Donut Moment

I was having a chat with a friend and fellow photographer the other night about creativity and skill and expectations and growth.  We were lamenting about those sessions that simply do not turn out how you wanted them to and how frustrating it can be when the results are below your expectations.  Rather high expectations at that.  Let's take it a step further - bordering unrealistically high.

No matter where you are in your growth curve, you hit walls - lots of them.  You compare yourself to others (don't do it!!!), you fail (but you learn!), and you have your donut moment.  Aka "my kids are being total A-holes" moment.  (side note, if I just offended you, I am probably not your photographer...)

Last Tuesday my youngest son turned 9.  He requested donuts on the morning of his birthday and my head immediately started creating the amazing story I was going to share on social media of his festive birthday morning complete with perfect light, amazing sprinkles, and stellar cooperation.  All in pictures.  Pictures that I could share with the world so they would tell me how amazing I was as a photographer.

Well, I got the perfect light.  I got donuts.  And I got a whole lot of whining and fussing, and bringing the wrong lens with me (not wide angled enough!).  "Mom, I don't want to sit on this bench, it's too cold!"  "Mom, can't we just eat these in the car?" "I don't want to take another bite of the donut so you can take a close up."

I didn't get the images I was after.  Instead I felt defeated, inadequate, and like a stupid rookie.  And I blamed my kids when I really needed to acknowledge that they just didn't want the same moment I wanted to document, and that I was actually being the A-hole.  I was making it all about me.  My worth.  Not about my kid and his birthday and the fact that he just wanted a donut.

Why am I telling you this? Because we ALL go through it.  As I shared my experience with my friend whom I idolize and put on a photography pedestal, she said to me "I've had your donut moment a million times." And I was reminded that no matter how great a photographer you are, you don't knock it out of the park all the time.  And you don't get to tell the story in your head 100% of the time.  Pressure can be a motivator, but you can't rush your journey.  And if you don't get the perfect shot, does it really matter anyway?

So, relax.  Don't be the A-hole.  Remember that even if you didn't capture the sprinkles the way you wanted to, it doesn't mean that you suck as a photographer.  And share the images anyway.