Searching for Highs - San Francisco - Dec 6, 2012
Share your secrets
It’s been a well known fact amongst my good friends and acquaintances that I can talk about photography for hours. Based on that fact I’ve began to receive a lot of requests for photo walks. Above is a portrait of a good friend who is currently learning photography through the use of an old canon ae1.
For the last couple of months, besides personal and work related shooting, I’ve been spending my free time going on weekly romps around town with friends of mine who are picking up film cameras for the first time. I find it incredibly therapeutic, mentally stimulating and enjoyable to share my acquired knowledge with new shooters and to hear and see what they struggle with or enjoy when out and about.
Now there are always the secret agent types who don’t want to share anything with others for what I can only assume is fear that whoever they share their information with will steal their skills and run away with them. I’ve always been weary of these guys for a couple of reasons.
In my eyes photography as a whole is a subject that at its very core is something that entails capturing a moment or scene and sharing it. The process used to create a photograph may not always be important, but if someone asks you how you created a certain image why not tell them? It’ll probably help you define your own work better! It’s like some guys fear that telling someone what exposure they shot something at or what camera they used is like telling them their bank pin. There is much more to photography than the crispness of a photograph or whether or not something has noise. Obviously competition is great for improvement, but so is sharing knowledge. Sacrificing one for the other is foolish. I’d like to think if someone shot a better photograph than my own because of information I gave them, then my next step would be to go out and try to make a better photograph. It’s really that simple. If I get one, great! I have a new picture for the portfolio. If not, then I have something to work for and having a goal is good.
Basically, I’ve always believed the act of sharing your techniques, viewing others approaches, explaining your own work and critiquing others is the fastest way to improve your own photography. Putting what you were trying to do in a picture into words is key to generating work that you are consistently happy with.
This all means finding friends to shoot with, finding a club, or even creating one. There are plenty of photo clubs usually specializing in one particular area that anyone can find on the meetup social networking site*. Using flickr’s amazing group feature for online critiques can be helpful if you aren’t in a town with easily accessible photo enthusiast hangout spots. Regardless, don’t be a hermit about this stuff. Be social and find people to shoot with. That or if you love landscapes and work alone, be sure to ask other photographers for their opinions and do little write ups about your favorite images.
Fortunately for those of you who read this far, that’s pretty much all I have to say on the subject for now. I’ll probably devote later posts to individual topics within this post. I just ended up typing up a lot more than I originally intended. Have fun out there!
*I’ve found the meetup groups to be fun, but usually too large for my tastes. Personally, I prefer smaller groups of individuals, but different strokes for different folks right? Whose to say you can’t start in a large group and split into smaller ones.
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- wholemilk said:beautifully put, mate
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