Having started my photography career with film, I learned quickly that the old ways are not always the best ways. Shooting film was tedious, and it made me have to think constantly about how many shots I had left. It was a wet blanket on my creativity.
In 2002, I dived headfirst into digital. Aside from changing my shooting mentality, it gave me one enormous advantage over other photographers: I could deliver photos immediately.
Most professional photographers were still pulling all-nighters in the darkroom, hands shriveling in developer. They’d routinely nod off while they waited for their prints to dry.
Meanwhile, I was doing jobs at light speed, shooting hundreds of images while most people shot 36. I handed each client a disc in short order, wildly exceeding their expectations.
I adapted at the right time. But I couldn’t rest on my laurels. There was an avalanche of digital photographers right behind me. I had to keep looking for ways to improve.
My career since then has been a series of adaptations, and many of them aren’t even about technology. Adapting simply means paying attention to what clients want, then finding a way to provide it–ideally in a form that’s better than what they had imagined.
That can mean using digital innovation to deliver images faster. It can also mean changing plans because of a thunderstorm, using lighting to make an overcast day look sublime, or rolling with it when the bride decides she wants to walk barefoot in a pond.
Adaptation is about more than survival. It’s a form of creative growth.