Most things in life, we try our hardest to plan out in advance. We plan out what kind of education we want to pursue after high school. Then we try to plan out what kind of job we’re going to have post-graduation. Most of the time, we try to plan out what we’re going to do this weekend, or even what we’re going to have for dinner that night. Whether it’s a simple task as to what we’re going to wear that day, or a more complex situation as to where we’re going to buy our first house, we always plan things out. And we do this mainly so we are more prepared for what’s to come, and to be more efficient with our time. But, we also plan in order to avoid mistakes.

The same works for photography. Photographers are always planning ahead; thinking of different poses they’re going to have their client stand in, or new locations that they want use for future sessions. They’re always planning out what time of day to shoot at, what equipment they’re going to need for the shoot, etc. When they go out to take photographs, they usually always have a plan, or at least a general idea of the who/what/when/where/why and how’s of what they’re about to take photographs of. And for the same reasons, they do it because being a professional photographer means you are always prepared and efficient with your work. And obviously they don’t want to make mistakes either.

But then there are also those times when planning isn’t necessary. Those times when you just get up, take your camera, and just go somewhere. Not really in a desire to find the perfect photograph, but more just to explore. With no agenda in hand, you walk around just hoping you’ll come across something, eventually, and be able to take a decent photograph. And it’s during those times, that the unexpected happens. That beauty is found in the most random situations. You might come across an area that wouldn’t seem at all attractive or interesting if you were to plan it out ahead, but it turned out to actually be quite compelling when you were right in front of it.  Simple, everyday objects that you don’t always notice, or don’t really think of when imagining a photograph, are discovered and become somewhat beautiful.

It might not be the most efficient time ever spent, or the most prepared you’ve ever felt, but that doesn’t matter. Because when you do finally come across that one shot, that one unexpected moment, you will have learned something new that was well worth the aimless wandering. And what is really interesting, is even though you didn’t plan ahead, you still can’t make mistakes. Because how can you make mistakes when you didn’t have expectations or a purpose in the first place?

fold up chair in downtown Raleigh