Watching videos and reading articles about photography can be helpful to develop our knowledge base… but we can risk becoming an armchair photographer. Unless we put new found knowledge into practice we risk it quickly fading from our consciousness.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Many of us have attended leadership training sessions in our business careers. Often when asked about the value of the training we received we’d say we “got a few nuggets” that we could put into practice.
If you’re like me, the truth was that much of that knowledge was never consistently used and often did not become a part of my everyday management approach. I was certainly well-intentioned but if I didn’t act on the new information immediately, and reinforce it, nothing happened.
Change did eventually occur. That didn’t happen until I started to hold myself accountable to improve. This entailed increasing my self awareness of my habitual management behaviours that were counterproductive, and replacing them with new behaviours.
Was I completely successful? Sadly… no. I had wasted too many earlier opportunities in my career to improve. As a result, I left a lot of my leadership potential on the table.
We can do the same thing with our photographic craft. Watching videos and reading articles can be of significant benefit… but only if we put this information and knowledge into practice.
Simply watching and reading makes us an armchair photographer. We may parrot things we’ve seen and read online in photography chatrooms, but that doesn’t integrate those learning points into our photographic craft.
What makes us better photographers is picking up a camera and trying new things with our gear. When we view or read about an approach that may be helpful to us, the proof is in the doing. Just because a particular approach works well for one photographer doesn’t mean it will be a good solution for us. To find out what works for us… we need to actually try the approach first hand.
We live in an era when many people expect improvement with little effort. People take medication to reduce their blood pressure rather than dealing with the root cause of their condition. They buy into the dramatic claims of fad diets or supplements… only to be disappointed later when they regain weight. It seems we want a pill or a ‘magic bullet’ to solve our challenges for us.
Improvement takes time and effort. My earlier foray into full frame camera gear was likely based on a false and misguided assumption that a specific camera format would magically make me a better photographer. It didn’t.
Using our camera gear and experimenting with it over time enables us to learn how to use it effectively. The camera format we choose needs to meet our specific requirements. One format isn’t ‘better’ than another. Every piece of camera gear comes with benefits and trade-offs. The more we understand these issues, the more proficient we will be with our camera equipment.
To avoid becoming an armchair photographer we can adopt a very simple solution. For every hour that we spend watching or reading something about photography… we can commit to spending a matching hour out in the field actually using our camera gear. Trying new things and honing our craft.
The beauty of this approach is that we can each put new approaches and learning into practice immediately.
How long did it take you to read this article? Why not pick up a camera when you close this website and create some photographs for an equivalent amount of time? If you do, you’ll be taking a small step along the path of photographic self-improvement.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Crops are noted as appropriate. This is the 1,065th article published on this website since its original inception.
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