The Laws of Averages

The Laws of AveragesThe principle that supposes most future events are likely to balance any past deviation from a presumed average

According to American entreprenuer and motivational speaker Jim Rohn, the law of averages says that if you do something often enough, a ratio will begin to appear. For example, you talk and direct sell to ten people with one saying yes, you are at a 1:10. Supposedly once it starts, it’ll continue. Talk to ten more and you’ll get one more. As you improve your skills and get more experience in talking with people, your ratio should improve. More importantly, in the beginning you will make up in numbers what you lack in skills. Your ratio may be 1:20 but as your skills improve, so will your numbers.

Having a deep understanding of your ratio will tell you how many people you will need to talk to in order to hit the number you are aiming for. Knowing that you will fail more often then you will succeed is the first step, and by knowing that, immediately takes away any pressure off yourself. Rohn’s advice in less words is that if you want success and easy conversations with people, then you are going to have to do what successful people do, and that is get off your ass, go out there and talk to people. Step out of your comfort zone.

I believe the “Laws of Averages” applies well with street photography. How so? Basically in a nutshell, if you go out for an hour or two daily, sooner or later, you’ll come across a good moment worth photographing. Now can I promise it’ll be that one photo that’ll put you on the map…no…or get a hundred Facebook “likes”, no…but it may be a photograph you’re satisfied enough with. You produce ten street photographs, you have one satisfying photograph…or in my case produce two thousand photographs and to one. 2000:1 ratio.

For instance, the more you do something, whether it’s street photography, any sporting activity, learning a new language, talking to girls as a unconfident teenager….the more you do, the more you’ll make mistakes or fail (which is expected), and the more you are giving yourself an opportunity to improve and learn from your own experiences.

So if you keep going out, photographing the street, and afterwards have an honest reflection on what you could have done better as well as feedback from other friends, continue to strive or look for ways to improve, statistically you should get better. Your photos should be better. Or at the very least, you feel comfortable with a camera in hand out in the public setting.

For me personally, if I don’t go out for a few weeks with a camera in my hand, it may take me a few moments to get situated out in the streets. However, sometimes being away from photographing the streets is sort of like hitting the refresh button as well, like I’m learning how to shoot again and I just start snapping away not caring about if the photo is worth taking.

Conclusion

I do believe there are so many elements in being a great street photographer or capturing “the moment”. You need good awareness, being able to anticipate what’s to come or how something will align itself, being able to blend in out in the streets, and being able to make something out of nothing. All of that comes with time, experience, as well as learning from others (workshops, studying how other street photographers go about shooting). But if you keep swinging that bat, eventually you’ll hit the baseball, and as you increase your hits, you will increase your chances of hitting a home-run.