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Friday, November 30, 2012

Keeping Up Appearances

Straight from camera, this portrait could be printed without a single stroke of Lightroom
or PhotoShop. But which camera? The latest, greatest, most expensive? 
If you have seen the classic television show of the same name as this blogpost, you will remember the situations that Mrs Bucket often found herself in because she was consumed with the notion of keeping up appearances. The truth mattered little. She needed to be accepted. She needed to be seen. She needed to look like she belonged. But with a name like 'Bucket', was that really going to be possible?

Photographers face this situation within their cultural circles also. Its sad, but its an irrefutable truth.
"What? Your lens doesn't have Vibrations Reduction!"?
"really" You don't have the 1.4? You only have the 1.8?"
"Really? You take pictures with that? Oh...mine is much newer/biggger/more technologically advanced!"

All the Gear, and No Idea
There is a saying that photographers have which I laugh at, but which I have found unfortunately true in far too many cases. "All the Gear, and no idea". I have taught and trained many hundreds of photographers over the years and far too often have I seen them turn up with thirty grand worth of gear and completely devoid of real information and understanding. That, I suppose, is where I came in as a trainer and teacher and that's perfectly fine. But the notion that expensive gear makes the photographer is definitely a myth.

And then there are those who simply will NOT learn.

I know that in years past I have been at weddings where 'Uncle Brian' has turned up with two six thousand dollar cameras, four three thousand dollar lenses, two or three one-thousand dollar flashguns and about three cents worth of ability and talent. Then, he stands in my way all the time or tries to point his lens over my shoulder during the shoot. Sorry, Brian. That's a 'no-go'.

The image above was taken recently at Tracy and Simon's wedding reception....and yes, we will be blogging that wedding soon. This portrait of Don ( I hope I have remembered his name correctly!) is straight out of camera, (except for some resizing for the blog, of course) . What camera? Our old backup Nikon D200. Yes, folks, you heard it here. A camera with 7 or 8-year old digital technology produced a jpeg like this. And yet, this jpeg - straight from camera - could be printed and accepted for quality without a single stroke of PhotoShop.

New, technologically advanced camera equipment is wonderful, but it won't make you a photographer. Its funny how we all know that, but its also funny to see the looks on photographers' faces when you pull out an old workhorse like the D200.

And yet, it can create images that were perfectly beautiful, won awards, travelled the world and shot a mean wedding in 2005. And you know what? It still can. If you are considering photography as a career, think education over gear. Armed with that education and training you will actually save money buying the right equipment first, rather than gathering your weapons only to find that you don't know the battle strategies.

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The Life, Times and Images of photographer, Shelton Muller

Images on this blog are copyright Shelton Muller