Your Images Will Never Be Good Enough

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Gerry 5 Comments

Your images will never be good enough.

Yeah you heard me, never.

Before you get all upset, close this page and start sending me all kinds of emails about how good your images really are hear me out.

During the last few weeks I have spoken to quite a few photographers both online and in person, about entering photography competitions.

What brought this on was the fact entries to the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year closed recently.  Now the WPOTY is like the Oscars of the wildlife photography world. It is the holy grail, the special moment, the ultimate recognition.

I was quite surprised to hear that a lot of photographers don’t enter because they don’t think their images are good enough.  A common response was ‘I’ll do it next year‘ with the idea that they might have a better chance of winning then.

Umm… ok.

And what makes you think your images are going to be any better then?

Don’t you think that by the time next year comes along you would have – hopefully – grown as a photographer and your personal standards and assessment of your own work would have grown along with your photographic ability leaving you in the same situation saying the same thing – I’ll do it next year.

The point of entering a competition like the WPOTY is not winning.  The point is not even being recognized at any level.

The point is that you take your images – your best images – seriously.

The goal is to critically assess your own work, make a call on what you think the best ones are and then move on from there.

By not taking a swing, by not going all in, by not letting the chips fall where they may you will never reach that important point where you sit down, have a good, long, honest long look at your own work and make the call on which images you would like to put forward as your ‘best’.

By taking the time to look at your own images, to critically look at your own images, you will start changing the way you look at your own photography and that will make you grow.

Will you ever think your images are good enough?

Probably not because we all feel that we can create better image.  We all feel that we can improve somehow.

Are your images good enough for now?


Don’t wait until you feel your images are good enough.

Take a swing now!

Until next time.

Gerry van der Walt

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Comments 5

  1. Marcelle Robbins

    🙂 Yep, how true! You will never know until you try…i say that allot, but its true. I am always shocked when an image of mine gets a good reaction, and although confidence in ones abilities will prob always be a slight issue, its amazing to know that people really appreciate your work. Maybe not everyone, but someone at least. It motivates a person to keep trying, keep improving and keep believing that you can do it…whatever IT is, you CAN do it! But you wont know that until you take a risk and put yourself out there!!!

  2. Rob Wildlife2

    Great motivation Gerry ..I have never entered any competitions of any kind in my many years.. Always felt as above…this year this old git received an apple iMac for Christmas…it has changed my life…my photo,s as you are awre are not skill fully enhanced or should I say technically..but for the first time ever I had a monitor that showed up my pics in a way I had never seen them before…it is important to have a good monitor …never minf camera..well I have ented this competition…the sizes got me mixed up 1920 pixels highest..could not get this right with landscape…but got it right with square… So proudly like you said had a go scrutinised looked at my pics..and proudly entered..I shall never win don’t have that feeling for enhancement as say you have…but loved the process of entering …and I am an eperienced amateur ..who has sold over the years some photos…mostly given photos away…so may I suggest that all photographers enter..completions ..not fit winning but for pleasure…you will not win …but you have judged your own photos and won…baie Dankie ek se Groete ook

  3. Michael Blackburn

    True words these. You make an interesting point though. Often people say that your photos are never good enough. But this makes that ok. As long as we are improving and not stagnating (or worse, going backwards) then that it what is good enough. 

  4. Lee Hayden

    I’ve noticed the same effect. When I started photography I liked maybe 1 in 10 of my shots and was comfortable showing maybe 1 in 30 of my images. As I’ve progressed this has come down slightly but the real change is in my perceived quality threshold. 

    I’m only satisfied with a very small top percentage of my images because I know I can do them and I know I can do better. Then when I feel I’ve captured a better image, the threshold moves up with it again. I think this is one of the reasons why getting your photos critiqued (constructively) can be such a good thing for your photography!

  5. Pingback: Do You Think Your Images Are Amazing? - Wild Eye

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