Beginning Photography

Overcoming FOMO

Overcoming FOMO

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What is FOMO? Well, it’s certainly one of those things that permeate every aspect of photography! FOMO stands for the fear of missing out, and we see it in all aspects of life. Is there a popular TV show that everyone just has to see? Well, those of us that may not get a chance to see it might end up suffering from FOMO because we really want to get in on the trend, or the latest, greatest thing.

In photography, FOMO can be found in all sorts of places. Just about every part of this art that you can think of, we all suffer from this fear of missing out. And, we shouldn’t! Art should be about fearlessly creating, not letting fears hold you back. So let’s discuss some of the ways that FOMO plagues us, and with that, a few ways that you can overcome these fears.

Gear FOMO

The fear of missing out on gear is perhaps one of the biggest fears we face. And these days, it’s almost impossible to avoid! We’re bombarded with advertisements, and with other photographers using gear that we’d love to have. Everywhere we look — on Youtube, in books and magazines, even among our own photographer friends, we see all kinds of items that we’d really like for our own kits.

This is one of those insidious fears that can really hold us back, too. Have you ever found yourself thinking that you can’t possibly take beautiful waterfall photographs because you don’t have the ideal set of neutral density filters? Or maybe you just can’t take those perfect nighttime long exposures because you don’t have remote triggers or some other necessary piece of gear. This is the kind of fear that can stop us from even trying to create new images. If you think that your gear limits you, then you start to think that certain photographs simply aren’t even worth attempting.

But the funny thing about gear limitations is that there are usually workarounds to get the same result. For instance, remote triggers prevent camera shake when you press the shutter button. But, most modern cameras also have timers, so if you don’t have a remote trigger, simply set the timer for ten or thirty seconds and press the shutter button. By the time the timer runs out, the camera won’t be moving anymore. Don’t let gear fears stop you. Instead, look for solutions.

Missing the Perfect Shot FOMO

Getting that perfect shot can be a huge fear, particularly if you’re taking photographs in an action-packed scenario. Timing can be everything, whether you’re trying to capture a bird in flight or a player at a sporting event making a big play. Again, this is one of those fears that can give you pause—and that pause could be enough to make you miss the shot.

So rather than worrying about this particular fear, simply set it aside and focus on the task at hand. Don’t let worries get to you, and definitely, don’t wallow in regret if you do happen to miss the perfect shot. Just keep shooting, and at a certain point, you’ll almost definitely end up with images that suit you.

Missing a Photo Trip FOMO

Photo trips can be a big cause of FOMO! Especially if they’re the kind of trips that are expensive, require lots of travel, hotel stays and so forth. It’s really hard to look around the world of photography and see all of these people traveling to exotic locales that you simply can’t get to right now. And that jealousy, the fear that you may never be able to make it to some of these places—that can hold you back in one major way.

You see, if you’re pining after all of these remote or expensive destinations, then there’s a good chance that you’re ignoring something vital. And that something is all the things that are within your reach. All those destinations that are close to home, or even those places that you can make on a day trip or a weekend trip. Beautiful photography doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to travel the world. It just means that you need to look at the world around you with a unique perspective. So don’t let the fear of missing out on fancy trips stop you from photographing what is right in front of you!

Missing the Perfect Weather or Time of Day FOMO

Weather and time of day are two things that may be entirely out of your control. We only have certain times when we can get out to take our photographs, and the daylight or lack thereof, or the weather conditions—well, they are what they are. And if you’re creating landscapes in which you’d like that “golden hour” look, or if you’re shooting physical objects that would really look nicer under diffused, overcast lighting, then time of day and weather can be a real frustration.

But here again, this isn’t a fear or a limitation that should stop you from taking photographs! Use the time that you have, and if conditions aren’t ideal, then the best thing you can do is think differently about how you want to approach the session. Sure, perhaps you have stormy skies instead of golden hour lighting. So what kinds of photographs can you take that use those skies to best effect? Again, don’t let these concerns stop you. Just find ways to work around them.

The thing about photographic limitations, be they gear, location, weather or some other concern, is that there are always limitations present in life. You could own all of the most expensive gear money can buy and still run into things that your equipment just isn’t quite capable of doing to your liking. No matter what problems you run into, always be looking for a way to work around it or a way to approach the problem differently. It’s that kind of creativity and unwillingness to give in to FOMO that makes photographers productive.

Will Moneymaker

About the author

Will Moneymaker

Will is a photographer, family historian, a husband of twenty-five years and devoted father of four. The arts have always been a part of his life. Join Will as he shares his thoughts and adventures in photography.