I’ve got a funny little story to tell you. It’s a story about seeing what you look for and missing the obvious right in front of you.
Last week my husband was making plans for our family weekend getaway when he realized his credit card had expired and he didn’t have a new one. Naturally he asked if I had received my new card in the mail. I had. He didn’t recall receiving his, so he called the credit card company to ensure it had been mailed. It had. The envelope must have come in the mail, so he figured it had gotten mixed up with some other mail and was stashed somewhere in the house – a drawer, his nightstand, his desk or my BIG bag of junk mail that I save to burn every couple of months. He tore the house up and down looking for the envelope that contained his updated credit card. And of course he sucked me into his madness and had me checking potential spots (and my big burn bag) where the envelope could be hiding. And these shenanigans went on for two days… Finally, I gave him my card to make the reservations and end the frenzy. He took my card, looked at it, and went upstairs. Shortly he returned with a grin on his face and his updated card in his hand faced towards me. I say nothing because the puzzled look on my face said it all. Once he saw my card and realized what it looked like, he remembered seeing his card under some papers in his desk drawer. For two days he had been looking for an envelope from the bank with his card inside. He wasn’t looking for his credit card at all! And so he looked right past it as he rambled in search of an envelope.
This is a great example of what not to do as a photographer. When you have a preconceived image in your mind, that’s what will hold your focus – clouding your vision from countless other intriguing or inspiring shots. Even if you have a defined subject, say a beautiful bride, you can still keep your mind open and your eyes attuned to the possibility of what you can capture. The first photo in this post of a dying, golden Zinnia bloom was hiding in plain sight in my dirty wagon of garden waste. It caught my eye as I walked past it. So my advice – don’t miss a moment or a subject because it doesn’t look the way you envisioned. Take your camera with you everywhere, be present, and let the subject and the shot connect with your heart.