YouTube video of the week – “I was a Horrible Photographer” by Peter McKinnon



About six months ago, I stumbled across a YouTube channel that I enjoy. Peter McKinnon [] is a Canadian photographer who specializes in product photography. I enjoy his enthusiasm and down-to-earth, authentic approach to life. His YouTube channel has taken off. I recommend subscribing to his channel

Recently, he posted a great vlog that I particularly appreciated. He shared several photos he took early on in his photography. He talked through the mistakes he made in each photo and explained how he could have done them better. For him, it was embarrassing to review those early photos.

What I appreciated and what encouraged me was that reality that he pointed out how far he has come as a photographer. He did not start out taking exception photos. The key to improving is to continue to shoot and grow as a photographer.

I could not agree more. I hear someone once say, “Don’t compare your beginning with someone else’s middle.” In other words, don’t compare your photos early in your photography with someone’s photos who has been shooting for years. They point is to keep shooting and learning from your mistakes.

So, here is a comparison of a photo from just a year and a half ago and one that I took last week.

I took the first photo in the French Quarter in New Orleans. I was trying to create a cool photo essay of the ornate doors on homes in the Quarter and in the Garden District. I suppose as an essay, it was okay, but as an individual photo, it really doesn’t pass muster. There are several things wrong with it:

  • It is crooked, so I did a bad job of composition and did not correct it while cropping.
  • It is not a compelling subject.
  • The light is inappropriate and harsh.
  • The color is flat.

I took the second photo a couple of weeks ago. I learned how to take photos like this and process the photos from months of studying, practicing, failing, and learning from my mistakes.  I also spend a lot of time comparing my stuff with the amazing photographers I see on a couple of the major photo-sharing sites.

Today, I trimmed up my portfolio, and I noticed the remarkable change in the quality of my photos in just eight months’ time. I am excited to see how my skill has improved because I have invested the time to learn.  Don’t get me wrong – I have a long way to go and much to learn. But, I am more confident each time I set up my camera that I have the right composition, set up, and processing techniques.

Let’s keep shooting!

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