If you're like me, you've been to parties or wedding receptions or night clubs and immediately decided not to dance. Sit and watch and chat for a while, and probably have a drink or two. But then, perhaps helped by the alcohol or a good song or watching others having fun, I'll gradually warm to the idea. And so I'll get up and head into the crowd, and almost immediately enjoy myself and remember why it's fun to dance. It happens to me all the time, or at least it would if I got invited to more parties where I'm not the photographer.
And when I go out to photograph on the streets it's usually the first picture that I find the hardest (or at least a close second after the shot of the 300lb drunk guy with 'hate' tattooed on his fist). Which seems crazy given how easy it is just to take a picture. But somehow until I take that first picture I feel unsure. Unsure if I feel inspired, unsure if I'll make any good images that day. It takes that first picture to feel engaged, to feel part of the scene. I'm not just going to photograph just anything, I'm still looking for a good image, but it doesn't have to be a great one, it's only the first step.
If you're not sure if you feel like, whether you're in the mood, whether it's an 'off day', just relax and take that first shot.