This is how I feel about photography.
No matter how many tutorials I read and how-to videos I watch, I always seem to be just a little bit off, not quite there. Sometimes, mind you, I really pull something off (in my opinion), but it's usually by accident.
It's not that I don't "have an eye" for it if you will -- I see how I want things to appear in my head and usually come pretty close as far as it comes for staging and angles, and I'm getting better at checking my light sources -- it's just somewhere between uploading, editing, and processing that they seem to just fall apart.
I don't know what I'm doing wrong, and it's endlessly, driving-me-to-the-brink-of tears on a regular basis, infuriating.
I don't want to be a professional photographer. I have a deep appreciation for the people who can make a living at capturing moments and making them convey everything you want and more, but that's not my calling and I'm perfectly secure with that. So this isn't a woe is me i want to make the artsy things kind of venting.
I just want my photos -- for the blogs, of my kids, of whatever the hell I feel like taking photos of -- good.
I want them clear and precise and well-composed. I want the light and the colors to be right and even and balanced. I don't even know all the right words for what I want because I'm not knowledgeable in these things and that, too, frustrates me. Do you know how hard it is to learn about photography with a point-and-shoot and a smartphone?
I can only do so much.
I'm frustrated because fifteen years ago I listened to my junior high art teacher when she told me not to take photography in high school but in college, because the resources and instruction there would be better.
Sure, if you don't start college in a highly competitive theatre program that leaves you room in you schedule for exactly one class beyond their required course load and you have to finish those pesky gen eds, too. And by the time you leave that major and settle five changes later on one you actually want a degree in, you just want to be done and not taking a freshman-level art course that's nearly impossible to actually sign up for due to the course load you're blazing through on official overload and your capstone projects and figuring out what the hell to do NEXT with your life.
I'm frustrated because three years ago when we had the money I thought I was being smart by not purchasing a DSLR, but a really fancy point-and-shoot, because with one toddler and a baby on the way I wasn't going to find the time to use it properly and it'd probably just get broken, anyway. And now, now dropping that kind of cash on something like a camera is so absurdly laughable because it'd sink us. I'm already stressed to the gills about finding $250 for BlogHer '14 before it sells out and that's just for the ticket, not the cost of getting me to California.
I'm frustrated because I just spent an hour editing photos in Lightroom that looked pretty good only to open them in Photoshop to watermark them (since I don't like Lightroom's automatic watermarking) and see that they were so ... off despite my best efforts with what I have on hand.
Which means I don't have the stuff I thought I did for the house blog for tomorrow, so now it's another late, pictureless night of house blogging for me.
I'm frustrated because I think I could be good at it. Not extraordinary, not amazing, but good enough to have clean, nice photos for my blogs and my life. Good enough to capture what I see because I already know that I don't see things like everyone else so being able to show that accurately really means something to me, has a substance I can't convey until this somehow becomes possible. Good enough to take pride in what I create, both in the photograph and in the subject matter, to feel like I'm really doing my best from all angles.
And I guess that's the biggest source of frustration -- that I'm not doing my best right now, what I could be accomplishing with proper equipment and the right know-how. I'm just eking by with what I have on hand, watching the passability of that, the acceptability of that, diminish with every set of photos that don't look as good as I thought they did once I get a second look at them.
Because if there's anything I've ever learned in my life, it's that I can do anything I set my mind to.
I just have to be given the opportunity (and the resources) to try.