DOES SIZE REALLY MATTER?

 

Let’s get one thing straight, I don’t consider myself a “blogger” so I must apologize for my lack of interest in grammar and formatting. Besides, life’s too short to try and impress everyone with what my spellcheck can do, and if you’re impressed by that sorta thing, well, then, my blog really isn’t for you. I choose to show you who I really am and I’m not afraid to make errors in my scribbles. You are all very smart (you’re welcome) so I will safely assume that you understand what I mean when I misplace an apostrophe, or misuse a semi colon. Forgive me!

Welcome to 2015! Here we are- breathe it in deep, one month in and it’s going down smooth!

I’ve got so much I want to say. Let’s start with the fact that I’m officially in my 2nd year of my professional photography career and man am I loving it. For those who don’t know me (yet), I do have a day job in the corporate world and my photography fills up the rest of the time I have in my day (and night). Needless to say it gets a bit tough when I have a long day at the office and then come home to a mountain of editing. I won’t lie, it takes its toll on you, but once the balance is found it can be quite rewarding and something I actually look forward to. There’s something beautifully organic about nurturing an image from inception to completion.

 

To the aspiring photographers out there, remember, those hours and hours of editing pictures and designing storybooks does not go in vain and will stand you in good stead in the future. This is where you perfect your craft and create your own personalized workflow. Its in these tedious hours that you create your own signature and vibe to your brand. It’s a wonderful on-going learning curve. This is one of the things I love most about photography. With a highly saturated market (everyone with a DSLR is called photographer these days) you still have so much space to create your own style that can set you apart from thousands of photographers. There’s plenty of room under the sun for everyone.

 

I have been blessed with a great start to my photographic career and I have picked up so many new tricks and techniques that I use in my everyday shooting- yet I what I know is a drop in the ocean and that excites me more than anything. I’m merely scratching the surface here and that means the journey ahead is bound to be one of photographic discovery.

 

Which brings me to the main focus of this blog. When you are the new kid on the block in this industry you end up trying to shoot pictures that you hope will impress seasoned professionals so that they can notice your work. You fall into this trap of seeking acknowledgement from them. It got to a point where I would be in the middle of the shoot and I’d think to myself… I wonder what He/She would do on a shoot like this or I wonder if He/She will like these photographs. While this may seem like a good way to motivate yourself, it is a thorn in your creative freedom and will only serve to stifle your development. For that moment you forget that you are the photographer and captain on deck, that is where you rob yourself because you end up doing the shoot based on what you think will impress other photographers in the game instead of just shooting the best damn way you can, FOR YOU. Only you should colour your canvas, you heard that here first! I promise you the most rewarding shoots will be when you love what you are doing and you edit them with a smile on your face. You have to learn how to forget seeking acknowledgement from the ‘professionals’ because in some cases your work can be brilliant, but they still wont give you the respect your work deserves. Just because you’re the new kid on the block! So my question is, why even bother trying to please them? Stay true to your own creativity and only aim to please your client.

 

I did a collaboration with a foreign photographer based in SA. We went out to a local gig to shoot a few live bands playing in Cape Town. I am a huge fan of her work and always praise her and ask her for guidance. Being the professional that she is, she had a beautiful setup with an expensive camera body , lens and flash (easily over R50 000 in her hands). I whipped out my entry level bad boy with a cheap 50mm lens(R10 000 in my hands). The strangest thing happened when she saw my camera. She actually laughed at it. While it was a very shallow thing for her to do I never took offence, I just smiled with her and asked in jest if she would like to swop cameras. At the back of my mind I thought to myself “I need to save up to buy one like hers so that I can be as good as she is”. I observed in silence and watched her struggle to find the right exposure and positioning of her flash. She was visibly unhappy with the results she was getting. I never brought my flash along and she thought I was going to waste my time without a flash. I bet you would think the same too right? I mean a dark club with barely any lights on, how on earth was I going to get light without a flash, right? If you stop and think about it for a second and ask yourself who am I shooting? The band, right? Isn’t there always light on the band at gigs? Definitely right? Am I shooting the crowd in the dark? No! I came to shoot the band. Turns out that cheap plastic 50mm lens was the perfect lens for the occasion because it has a really wide aperture that lets in tons of light. So I positioned myself correctly, set my exposure and got insane results. I showed my ‘mentor’ the results I was getting and she we embarrassed that with my ‘laughable’ equipment I was getting sterling images. I asked to see hers and she just shook her head saying she will show me tomorrow. Let me tell you, tomorrow never came because up till today I have not seen those images she took with her hardcore equipment. My guess is that she deleted those images and suppressed the memory of the events of that night. I came home and immediately started editing the photos and I was impressed with myself. I proceeded to upload the images to my facebook page and up till today, out of all my work that specific batch of photos reached the most views and had the most comments on it. All positive!

 

Here is my point:

 

Forget about trying to impress other photographers with your work and your equipment.

You can have the most expensive tool, but the outcome is still going to be determined by the mechanic, not vice versa. Yes, it is awesome to have a full frame camera and an expensive lens. They produce amazing photographs, BUT it means nothing if don’t know how to use them properly. Have a look on instagram. There are images on there that I can only dream of taking and its been taken by normal ‘civilians’ with their cellphones! That’s pure technique and editing skills. Viewers of images don’t see what photographers are trained to see in images. People see photos that they either like or they don’t. its that simple. They don’t know about composition, noise, rule of thirds etc. They just going to either like the image or not. Focus on that! (pun very much intended).

So stop worrying about what camera you have and just start shooting. Learn as you go and once your business comes into fruition you might just be able to get yourself a decent setup to elevate your work. Its only going to be effective if you master your basics and build a solid foundation from there. You wont appreciate a Gibson Les Paul guitar as much if you don’t know how to play basic chords.

 

We all learn from the cradle to the grave. That means we learn every day from when we are children to old folks but the deeper meaning is we can learn FROM children and FROM old folks.

 

I’ve got some exciting things planned for this year and I intend on involving all of you, so look out!

 

Thank you for the support and encouragement; it doesn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated!

 

Spread love and let the light in!

 

Onwards and Upwards!

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