Sharing Knowledge, Part 1

It is no secret that I love to share the photographic knowledge I have learned over the years. I have enjoyed teaching, from workshops to college courses and many points in between (including mentoring).

Without fail, I will have a student ask me what is the next whiz-bang lens, flash, gizmo (fill in the blank) item they should acquire to create better photographs. I have two choices here. I can wax poetically about the new glass or lighting modifier that has just hit the retailer’s shelves. Or I can be honest. Brutally honest…..

Most photographers, or any hobbyist for that matter, tend to develop G.A.S. the longer they are involved with whatever it is that they are doing. “What is G.A.S.?” you might be asking yourself. Glad you asked! Gear Acquisition Syndrome, and it afflicts most photographers. And here’s how it goes….

Gee, I have the latest CaNikinon bazzilion megapixel camera with all the latest features! Heck, it even starts the coffee for me in the morning! The other day, I was perusing my favorite website / blog / magazine, and that famous photographer Alf Mushpie (who has the same camera I do!) had some beautiful pictures up. How come mine don’t look as nice? Shucks, he must be using a more expensive lens / filter / tripod / flash than I have! Once I get me one of those, I’ll finally be able to create beautiful images too!

Ah, no. You won’t. Painful truth alert

What would help out most photographers is to learn what they have first, and maximize its potential. Become proficient with what you have first. So much so that it becomes second nature. The automated nature of the latest digital cameras has made it possible to just “get in and drive”, without having to know how to make the thing go. Learn how to set a custom white balance. Take control of your depth of field. Understand what your camera and lens is capable of before dropping more hard earned cash on the next “thing”. Most importantly, invest in yourself first. The knowledge of photographic craft will be with you for a lifetime, unlike the previous version of the camera or lens you just replaced.

And don’t forget to practice!

Next time, Sharing Knowledge, Part 2; The ProActive Photographer

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