Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rule One with Photographers

Well, actually two rules rolled into one, which is basically do not talk technology, meaning about photography equipment or gear or about computer systems, with photographers. Every one of them has their experience and everyone has their advice if you ask them. In three words, "Don't ask them." Yes, find someone, even a photographer, you trust, do your homework, and then use your best judgement and go with it.

The reason is that arguments since the beginning of photography are all alive and well and batted around so often to the point you give up and hit the back button to get away from it and them. Except for one group who seem more reasonable but not necessarily less ready to engage in the endless argument, and that's large format photographers, but then many of them are curmudgeons and don't care what you ask or think, let alone say.

You can almost name the argument, Canon versus Nikon, Leica versus everyone else, highend cameras versus amateur brands and models. zoom lenses versus fixed focal length lenses, ad naseum, and with computers it's still the same, PC versus Mac's, highend or consumer models, Adobe Photoshop versus all the rest of the photo/image editors, printers of any brand and model, papers, ad naseum.

And most of all, don't ask for critique of your images. You'll get a boat load of technical advice and a smaller boat load of composition and color advice, but not one really helping you. In the end it's all opinions, although often based on experience and knowledge, but still opinions, so produce the images you like and leave everyone else's opinion to themselves. Don't ask.

I've found the best advice on images and prints are people who want my prints and photo cards, the clients or customers. If they like what you produce, then keep going. If they don't, do it for yourself. Screw the world. That's what photography is about, what you like and want to do. Nothing more and nothing else.

So, that's my advice, don't ask. And only ask and then listen when you have a problem and want ideas of what to do better or solve a problem. Make it you against all the rest of the photographers. Take from them what you like. Learn from them what you see. And then be yourself and do your own work. And then don't ask or tell.

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