Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Putting in your time

Like any new toy, I just can't keep my hands off this blog. No images today, just a few thoughts. As Zig Ziglar says, "Everyone is entitled to my opinion."

My blog's sub-head says, "Learn your trade, not just the tricks of the trade." I don't know where I heard that, but I think it is so true. A friend of mine is a tradesman, and a very good one at that. After so many years of doing what he does, he makes it look effortless. He knows his trade inside an out. He has literally practiced daily for years. He has done it so often that he could probably do it in his sleep.

The difference between my friend as a tradesman and myself as a wedding photographer is that if he messes up, he can do it over. As a wedding photographer, if I mess up there is no do-over. I cannot practice of the day of a wedding. I have to practice on my own.

When I first started as a wedding photographer I spent hours each week studying wedding photography. I studied exposure, my camera, posing, and even my "bed-side manner." I watched as other photographers interacted with the bride and other participants, decided what I liked and what I didn't like and worked on emphasizing the former and eliminating the latter.

Today, twenty years into wedding photography, I still spend an average of ten hours a week on the Internet fine-tuning what I do. I am constantly looking at other photographers' web sites for inspiration, information, and instruction. The links that I list are just some of my favorites.

I find it incomprehensible that people can go out, buy a camera, and proclaim that they are photographers. And then they pout, they moan and groan, when asked to do assignments on their own to show that they have mastered something or to give them new skills.

I don't care if you don't have time. If you are passionate about photography, then you will make the time. If you are not, then put down the camera and find something you are passionate about.

The bottom line is that you must practice you trade. Constantly. A musician would never consider practicing only when he is on-stage in front of an audience. And neither should a photographer. Do you homework. Wander around the Internet. Get inspired. Grow!

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