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Fail Forward

I have failed more times than I can count. What I feared the most when I was starting out with my photography has become a valuable lesson for me and in my growth as a human being. We all fail, that’s the bottom line. Point me someone who says that they’ve never failed and I can assure you that they’re lying to themselves big time! As photography is a client – photographer related business, it is not only the client we fail but also ourselves.

CDO River’s People of The Sand. Photo by Glenn Palacio

Most of the time I fail myself, from learning new techniques, understanding how equipment works, preparing batteries, sending out emails, and the list goes on. Being hard on yourself is a double edged sword, it can either make you or break you. Understanding and accepting that we failed is part of the process but in order for us to grow, we must ensure that such eventualities must never happen again.

CDO River’s People of The Sand. Photo by Glenn Palacio

Preparing for a shoot is a meticulous process which photographers face, the usual routine of equipment checks, understanding perfectly the pegs / themes, shot list, and a mental focus of the necessary things you have to do. It may sound like a breeze to clients, but we photographers have a lot in our mind to consider. Some may have lost their way in the creative wilderness, performing one shot too many on different clients and occasions. We’ve been there, or at some point you will be.

CDO River’s People of The Sand. Photo by Glenn Palacio

There will come a time when you’re so tired of doing the same thing over and over again that you lose interest on the craft and focus on the income. I can’t blame you, I’ve been there myself. And in this way, we may have failed the creative side of ourselves. However, realizing that we’ve become a prodigal son to the creative juices of ourselves is the first step to enlightenment. Why am I tired? Do I need to be inspired?

For some, inspiration and passion can be quite mixed up. We are inspired to bring food on the table, to provide shelter to our family, or create substantial and meaningful images. Passion dies along the way, what we can do is to find a way to rekindle it and add more to its fire. Passion isn’t doing the same thing over and over again; passion is growth in every undertaking.

Inspiration is something outside of you, while passion is yours alone. Having mistakes does not change your inspiration, but it does have an effect on your passion. Choosing the wrong clients to work with, faulty equipment, unforeseen accidents, or losing connections / relationships can be a speed bump to our passionate career.

CDO River’s People of The Sand. Photo by Glenn Palacio

What I’ve learned over the span of 7 years is that we are made to outgrow ourselves. To seek a higher purpose in every stage of our lives is the ultimate lesson that we must all come to accept. When we are born, we learned how to see, speak, and walk. As we grow to children we learn of love, pain, and the beauty of this world. And as we turn into adults, we learn that our failures do not define us, but what we do with ourselves.

Photography, any career you’ve chosen or life plain and simple is downright harsh. We will fail. But remember to fail forward, don’t let your failures hold you too long. Life is too short to be stuck in a rut when you can redefine yourself. I know that it’s easier said than done, but keep in mind that we should not live our lives in friction, live it like we hunger for momentum.


About Glenn Palacio

Glenn Palacio

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