I’ll start this post with a story, but first, I would like to say; Dear student if you see this post call me or email me I would love to work with you to help you learn your camera.
Recently I was the host of a photography workshop. The workshop was about HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography. After a short introduction and talk about taking HDR photographs I suggested that we go and start to shoot some photographs to use in our HDR process. There were quickly several people who had questions about setting up their cameras. At one point I would have one or two people waiting in line to ask their question while I was helping another photographer. This was a great group of photographers, everyone wanting to learn and not afraid to ask questions and engage in conversation with each other.
One of the most difficult things for me was being able to help the others to navigate their cameras. Since I am a Nikon user I often had difficulty in navigating Canon menus. Even with many of the Nikon users I wasn’t familiar with their models but the system was more familiar to me.
One of those in attendance had a lot of questions, which I thought was very good. She mentioned that she had owned the camera for several years but hadn’t really learned anything about it. She was trying to figure out how to set it up to “bracket” the exposures. I started to help her and noticed several menu options were grayed out (not available). I then checked and saw the camera was still in full-auto mode. We switched her to aperture priority and found that her model camera didn’t do auto bracketing. We then talked about bracketing manually. I must add she was a great student, eager to learn, quickly taking notes. The photographer then asked the best question of the day. “If I take away anything from this what should it be?” What an awesome question.
The question is so awesome in my mind because it shows a total willingness to learn and to put to use the information about photography. Even though this was a workshop on HDR photography, my advice wasn’t about and HDR concept. My advice was for her to learn and take her camera off auto mode. She had such an eagerness to learn and I was throwing tons of information to her. She had shown me a photo she had taken of the moon because she thought the light and the way it looked was just awesome. The problem she even recognized was the moon had become a streak. We then talked about shutter speed and how the camera thought it needed to use a really slow shutter speed causing the motion blur.
The reason I started with this story is that many times there are people who really want to learn photography but don’t know where to go or who to ask to learn. As another person in the workshop noted if you ask in social media forums you often get quick advice but it may be a while before the people who “really know” respond. Many times people are “attacked” because of the question they ask because it is viewed as very simple and something “everyone should know”. Sometimes they get the “Google is your friend” or “this question has been asked before search the group”. This sort of thing often leads to frustration of the new photographer, many times resulting in their giving up their quest. When this happens we as a photography community lose. We lose a potential person who may inspire us, who may help move photography to another level. We lose a comrade.
My business goal is to offer education along with my photography, but my personal goal is to take awesome photographs, meet awesome people and to share my knowledge. I’ve met those photographers who won’t share their “secret” spots or their “secret” techniques unless you’re in their “inner circle”. I’m not that way. I will gladly share my locations and my techniques.
If you take away anything from this post let it be this; “Don’t be that photographer who is won’t help others. Don’t be that new photographer afraid to ask a question for fear of being thought of as to new or because you think the question is too basic”.
I’ll finish this post with a few lines from the Impossible Dream,