I Missed the Shot


Sooner or later it is going to happen to everyone. Every photographer misses a shot from time to time. Sometimes often. Almost all the time, it seems, at times. Strings and strings of bad luck can just happen.

You’re driving and see a magnificent cloudscape, but it is obscured by power lines and buildings, and you don’t have a camera with you. It looks great, but you’re powerless to take the photo.

Sometimes just driving interferes. I usually see great scenes from my car window, but I cannot take time to stop and shoot. I have to be to work on time. I can’t shoot the photo while driving. I value living and having my hands on the wheel is important for that.

I see “great light” all of the time when I don’t have my camera with me or cannot shoot it. I never get great light when I’m ready and waiting for it.

Sometimes I just don’t recognize what is in front of me. It is right there, and I could have taken the photo, but I saw it just a bit too late. Now it is gone, and all I have is regret. Crap.

Equally are the times when I have the wrong settings. I shoot what appears to be a great photo, but my shutter speed was too slow, and there is a blur. I can’t get that moment back, and all I have now is a blurry reminder of my ineptness. Or, the ISO setting is too high, and I have a noisy mess of a photo. Unusable.  Ugggh.

What to do?

I like to minimize my chances of missing a shot by doing a few things in advance.

  1. Always have a camera on hand. This means having a camera that is ready to shoot — not just having it in the car somewhere. Keep one in the pocket of a coat or on the seat next to you. When you’re ready to pull over and stop, it will be ready for you just to grab and go.
  2. Always have a camera that is ready to shoot. It is not enough to just have a camera nearby if you have to make all the setting adjustments every time you pick it up. Make those settings set beforehand. And make sure the batteries are charged, and the memory card is empty. Be ready.
  3. Always be on the lookout for the shot. Chance and luck can be your friends only if you’re ready when they are. If a great shot appears in front of you, be alert enough to recognize it.

Below are some photos of my bags and chargers in my car.

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Camera battery chargers in the console of my car.

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A final word of advice is this: Make peace with yourself when you miss the shot.

There is nothing more frustrating than beating yourself up about missing a shot. I’ve done it, and I’ve missed even more shots in the process. I am too preoccupied with beating up myself and I miss what is going on right in front of me.

Let it go. Let go of the photo that wasn’t. It’s probably never coming back.

Make peace with yourself for missing it. Move on. Move on to that next great photo that is out there waiting for you to notice it.

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A post shared by Lars Lentz (@larslentz101) on


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