Tyler’s Tips Episode 18: Take Risks!


Welcome to Tyler’s Tips. Today I’m going to talk about why it’s so important to take risks when you’re learning photography.

Okay, so why is it so important to take risks while we’re trying to learn how to get better at photography? As somebody who is still learning photography, and will always be learning photography, by the way, I think there are three main areas where having an attitude of risk-taking can really help us out as we learn this craft. The first one is super simple. It’s the idea that if we take risks, if we put ourselves in a position where we might fail even in very small ways, then we literally pay more attention to what we’re doing. It’s that simple. You know the process, which buttons we push on our camera, did we chose the right aperture, did we make sure that the white balance is where we want it, whatever, the lighting, and then on the creative side as well we really think through the story more. Is this really more the story I want to tell? We just pay more attention, and so as a result of paying more attention, we do better work, and we learn more.

So that’s why the second idea is probably even more important, and that is what I like to call the unknown unknowns. So by taking little bit larger risks, we put ourselves in a position where we don’t know what we’re doing, and we can truly fail, and sometimes we do and that’s okay, but in that process of either failing or succeeding out there in a new space we will often discover whole new areas of things that we didn’t even know we need to know. Things that we didn’t even know existed but that we absolutely want to learn and we need to learn to move our craft down the field. So that idea of the unknown unknowns, taking risks puts us in a position where we can discover those things.

Then the third, and in my opinion, by far the most important idea around risk-taking is the compounding effect of having a risk-taking mindset when we go about photography. What that means is that if we regularly put ourselves in a position to take these little risks, occasionally take a big one, what happens is that first risk it’s a stretch and we move ourselves a little bit further down the path, and then the next one we start at that point we move a little further down the path, and then the day after that we go just a little further taking another little risk.

As this goes on over time, eventually what we find is that we’ve taken all these little incremental steps, and we have come miles and miles down the road, and we’ve created some really incredible stuff, and we’ve moved our creativity and our process far further than we ever could have imagined we would have, and it’s that compounding effect or feedback loop that can come from having a risk-taking mindset.

Those are my three ideas of why it’s so important to actively cultivate a mindset of risk-taking. Number one is you’re just going to do better work because you’re paying more attention to what you’re doing. The other one is you’re going to learn stuff you didn’t even know you needed to learn, and then the last one is eventually if you keep doing this you’re going to look back, and you’re going to say, “Wow, look how far I’ve come because of all these little risks I’ve taken over the years.” Awesome. So there you go. I hope that’s helpful for today’s Tyler’s Tip. In the future, if you have any questions or ideas that you’d like me to discuss just shoot me an email, and I’ll work it into a future episode. Until then, I’m grateful for your time, and I’ll see you next time.