Watching the photographers who have been teaching their craft (and occasionally their art) on Creativelive.com has been an education all on its own.
For example last week’s five-day wedding photography bootcamp by Sal Cinotta and his beautiful and talented wife Taylor was, among many other good things, a study in contrast.
Sal’s the man and there’s no doubt about that. Bigger than life and full of himself in a good way — just like me 🙂 — Sal knows it all and teaches every bit of it. He’s a generous and gifted teacher no doubt. He’s also a very fine craftsman when it comes to wedding photography. In fact, he’s one of the best IMHO because he’s also a very lucky photographer (again just like me). Sal gets shots that other photographers miss because (a) he’s Sal and Sal doesn’t miss great shots and (b) he’s Sal and Sal shows up early and leaves late and in doing so gets great shots that other photographers miss.
Taylor on the other hand is new to photography. Taught by Sal, she’s the artist. She’s lovely and quiet and long-suffering when it comes to working under Sal’s shadow (gee this sounds like my wife Marion. Maybe I’m projecting too much of myself. Maybe not!). Taylor is the artist and her shots are as beautiful as she is. Sal’s photography tends to lean towards the gritter side of life and that should come as no surprise.
Both of them are to be congratulated on doing a five-day workshop on Creativelive.com let along doing such a great workshop. It’s in my top three or four workshops and I’ve watch a whole bunch of them in the last six months or so.
Then we come to Lara Jade. A British fashion photographer Lara is just 23. I thought by her looks (which are stunning. Oh give me a break people I’m a man and a photographer and these things make an impression on me especially as I grow increasingly older.) but more by her confident and competent manner I thought she was as much as a decade older.
But she’s not. She’s just a kid (anyone under 50 is a kid to me) but oh my what a kid.
Lara Jade shoots ethereally pretty waifs with big eyes and skinny bodies for fashion magazines around the world. At 23, she is internationally famous and has developed a distinctive style which many photographers take decades to develop. Lara’s workshops were all about the art of photography and they were perfect in tone and texture.
There is one other photographer I saw on Creativelive who blew me away and that is the amazing Zack Aris. An artist and master craftsman and his Creativelive workshop was a high-wire act from the moment he started the broadcast to the minute it ended.
He shot a portrait of one of the band members on camera during the broadcast which drew gasps of surprise and adoration from the studio audience …or maybe it was just my own applauding over this man’s genius.
So what’s my point?
It’s this: Each of these photographers is very different from the next. Some barely understand the technical nature of their equipment while others understand how to make each individual pixel pop with excitement.
Some photographers are in your face photographers and some are people you’d never see if they passed you on the street.
Every photographer is different and each one approaches photography differently with different objectives and different outcomes.
It comes down to this: If you wish to become a better photographer then shoot more – a lot more – shoot at least every week and every day if possible.
Shoot your friends. Shoot the cat. Shoot a pop can. Shoot anything but keep shooting.
Your photography will improve radically if you’ll just go out and shoot with whatever you got. (Trust me 99% of the cameras out there can take a better photo on automatic than we can with all of our skill and experience. In other words technically the camera is way more than you need. What you need to do is shoot more, not buy more equipment.)
BTW during an online chat with a fellow photographer at Creativelive I volunteered to help her with the basics of her new D-700 via a Skype call.
DSLR cameras are amazing machines capable of capturing the best images ever captured but the manuals written by Japanese geeky technicians for whom English is less than a second language.
Over the next few days I am going to write a series on camera basics for everyone out there. Enjoy!