This Week’s LIDLIPS

76. Ignoring the manual is no longer manly.

77. Play photography as a team sport.

78. Your ‘Decisive Moment’ is still out there.

79. Spend more time shooting that you do reading web forums and blogs.

80. Photography from Tarzan’s perspective.

Lessons I Didn’t Learn In Photo School 76–80

76. Ignoring the manual is no longer manly.
It used to be that an owner’s manual was discarded along with the box and styrofoam inserts that held a new camera. No longer. Today the manual should be read several times (as painful as that may be) and then put in your gear bag. Seriously. No matter how smart you are, no matter how much you use your gear, there will come a day when a mental hiccup blocks out that one technical step that gets you the shot you want. Today’s DSLRs and speedlights have so many features that it’s no longer manly (or smart) to ignore the manual.

77. Play photography as a team sport.
In many ways, photography is a team sport. Anytime you are shooting a subject that’s breathing, there’s an interplay through the lens. On more complicated shoots, there can be assistants, grips, gaffers, makeup artists, stylists for hair, wardrobe and props. You may have an art director and/or a client on set. It’s important to understand that even though you may be the one pushing the button, your photograph is the scorecard for how well any number of people are working together.

78. Your ‘Decisive Moment’ is still out there.
There’s a phenomenon that people who achieve intense fame or success go through when they realize that their career may have just crossed over its zenith. The thought that their best work has already come and gone pulls many creatives down quickly. No matter how successful or renowned or infamous you become, continue to remind yourself that your best photo has yet to be made. Doing so assures that it’s true.

79. Spend more time shooting than you do reading web forums and blogs.
It’s too easy to be in the world of photography without being a photographer these days. While the web has quickly made huge amounts of information and insight available, it’s important that you spend more time shooting than you do reading forums and blogs. When it comes to honing your craft and developing your vision, there is no substitute for a long trail of decisions and mistakes that you make on your own.

80. Photography from Tarzan’s perspective.
Many people romanticize the life of a photographer as if it was Tarzan swinging through the jungle from vine to vine. They see it as a glamorous and exciting life – full of momentum and confidence. Sure there may be moments when you want to agree. But then there’s a vine that’s just a bit too short or a tree that’s in the wrong place – and suddenly the momentum of your career or your enthusiasm for your hobby comes to a sudden halt. Every photographer goes through periods when he or she can’t make a decent photo. Every photographer has periods that seem to move backwards rather than forwards. I’m sure that when Tarzan loses his momentum, he just climbs back to the top of a tall tree and grabs a new vine. No matter how dismal your photography may seem at the moment, don’t give up on yourself. Jump off that safe limb and grab a vine. Sometimes saying “I can do this” is all it takes to get started again.

Previous Lessons I Didn’t Learn In Photo School

The entire LIDLIPS Series


11 Responses to Lessons I Didn’t Learn In Photo School 76–80

  1. Fabian says:

    Once again, very good tips! I especially need to lookout for #79 😉 But sometimes work is just drowning and there’s simply no time for photography left :/

  2. Otto Rascon says:

    Thanks Syl for these continuing lessons. I appreciate your openness and candor. Rock on!

  3. #78 is right on the money. I am 61 years old and been shooting since I was 7 years old. I have had a great career in photography, and I won’t stop until I can no longer hold a camera. You can’t rest on your laurels, as there are new pictures just waiting for you. The new digitals have opened a door to experimentation and instant feedback. There is now no excuse for not getting the shot. Some situations and locals cannot be repeated. Fill the memory card! Then sort on the monitor as to what is good or not so good.

  4. Marc says:

    I’ve become more grounded reading your LIDLIPS series. Thank you!

  5. Kathleen says:

    I’ll give number 76 to my husband and I’ll keep numbers 78 and 79 for myself.

    Thanks for all your lessons, Syl.

  6. Francis says:

    Thanks Syl, really enjoy reading this series

  7. Jordan says:

    Hi Syl,

    I generally dont take the time to comment (or havent in the past) but would just like to thank you for your tips section.

    As a young aspiring photographer facing the reality that the game is tough (especially in as small of a country as New Zealand), the established photographers aren’t even getting work and its looking like a life of poverty (and enjoyment) it’s all pretty daunting – though these tips help keep me grounded and a little hungry.

    Thanks heaps.

  8. Rich C says:

    79 and 80 for me Syl! Thanks once again.

    I’ve pared the blogs I read down. There’s a lot of noise out there now, a lot of reproduction of great tips, and I’ve got more to do than read all day. Glad to say you’re not part of the noise here, you’re always a valuable read.

    Most of my photography comes from the trips and hikes I take. And normally I don’t go alone. What fun would it be to just go out and take pictures without friends along doing the same and pushing you to be better? That’s a team experience for me. Others around me pushing me to look at scenes in a different way….

    Keep up the great work!

  9. Dolores says:

    Hi there,
    where did you take this shop, what is the building, it’s amazing….

  10. Tim B says:

    76 is a good point, but between the camera body, the different strobes and the PW’s – pretty soon you’re carrying around a half dozen different manuals. Since I take a laptop pretty much everywhere I downloaded PDF’s of all my manuals. It’s usable in the dark, has better search function than thumbing through a small print index, and PDF’s can be read on all sorts of netbooks, laptops, and some of the PDA’s and phones.

  11. Will Foster says:

    Nice Skylight!

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