A quick lesson for newbies..

A poster named Jon over on he DPS Forums made a recent post that I wanted to share with readers here. It is a great bit of advice and something to get your mind in the right place as a new photographer.

The original post can be found here but this is the text from it:

I do an awful lot of event photography. I’ve got the contract for two of the local Circus’s for their promotional shots next season. (Which I’m really excited about by the way) and one of the things that strikes me about event photography is that I never really get to see the show.. This may sound strange but it’s actually quite true, and it’s true of Portraiture, true of Landscape, true of fine art,true of street, in fact, I can’t really think of any genre in which it isn’t true.


Well, I realized this the weekend before last, when I was shooting yet another circus performance, at the local circus school, when I’m with my camera, I don’t JUST think about the performance in front of me.. Actually, I RARELY think about the performance in front of me. I think about what the performer is about to do, I think about composition, about obstacles and whether they can be used to enhance the shot or whether I should move because they detract. I relaxed a little and took some time on Saturday last week to enjoy the show.. Then I remembered “I’m here to take photos, if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be invited.” So I reluctantly picked up my camera.. The show was good, the kids talented, and for a little while I felt like I was missing out…

Now today, looking back through my shots, I can really see where my brain clicked from “photographer” to “spectator” .. and back again. There’s a distinct difference between the two..

But when I look at these photos, I realize, I wasn’t missing out at all.. I’ve produced some images that show the skills and abilities of these young people at their best, something that the parents love, and show off to their friends, even though they took their own photos that night.. Sure, someone with more experience than me might have made it even better, but they weren’t there, I was, and when I miss a show, people ask after me..

What I’m trying to say, is that if you want to be a photogr
apher, instead of just improving your snapshots, you need to turn your head on. You need to think like a photographer.
You know, when I was learning French, I couldn’t get the pronunciation right.. Someone said to me “You know how the French accent sounds in English?” I said “Yes.” And started doing an impression of a Frenchman. “Great.. Now do the same thing, only saying French words instead of English ones” they were right.. It worked, it was a lot easier.

What I’m saying is, even if you don’t get how to take photos yet.. You know how pro photographers stand and hold their cameras, how they move around to get the right composition.. Imitate them.. You’ll feel a bit self conscious at first. That’s only because you’re thinking about yourself, not your subject.. Stoppit.. Think about what you’re doing, and why, not about what others think about you, that’s totally irrelevant.

What you’re doing, by imitating pros, is training your muscles into good habits, you’re also making it far easier to take good photos.. Maybe you feel a bit silly.. Well, that’s just tough.. If you want to be a good photography, then believe me, you’re going to be doing these things eventually..

Make it easy on yourself and start how you mean to go on.. Move like a photographer and think like a photographer, stop making it difficult by trying to be a casual observer, the two can’t happen at the same time.. If you want to be a casual observer, put your camera down for a short while and enjoy.. But if you’re there to take photos, be a photographer.

Sorry, this is as much a self-learning exercise as anything else..

If you like his advice you can also see his great photography work at these locations:

Thanks for reading,


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s