You Miss 100% of the Shots You Don’t Take

Tokyo, 2013

Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.

I find this such a beautiful quote not only in life but also street photography.

Many of us are afraid of taking risks, of taking chances. We worry about failure. We worry that others will judge us for our shortcomings. We worry about the worst case scenario.

But in life, we need to take chances. We need to take risks. We need to give things our best shot. By simply not trying, we don’t make any progress and don’t move forward.

In street photography there are a lot of risks face. Risk of getting yelled at, risk of missing the shot, risk of pissing somebody off.

We often hesitate too. For example I have missed thousands of potential photographs because of that split second in which that voice in my head goes, “Don’t take the shot, you might get in trouble or you might upset the person.” The second I have that doubt, I end up not taking the shot (and greatly regretting it afterwards).

In sports players often choke too. This has to do a lot with the pressure to perform. The second basketball players start thinking too much, they often miss the shots. Wayne Gretzky was one of the greatest hockey players in history, yet he has missed countless goal opportunities.

But you won’t ever make a shot unless you take a chance.

So in your street photography take more chances. Be bold. Take risks. Don’t worry about making bad photos. There is a nice quote I like: “To double your success rate, double your failure rate.”

As my friend Charlie Kirk says, “When in doubt, click.” Don’t worry about making perfect photographs. Work hard, hustle, and work the scene. Take multiple photos from different angles. Crouch down. Take a step closer or take a step back. Don’t give up after only one photograph.

Work the scene

To learn more about working the scene and taking more risks, check out my article: “Debunking the Myth of the Decisive Moment.”

If you want to push yourself outside of your comfort zone in street photography, Check out one of my upcoming street photography workshops in Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Sydney, and London.

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