DIYP friend, photographer Don Giannatti, has just published a new book – What I’ve Learned So Far: Four Decades in Photography. He kindly shared a chapter with DIYP readers, and you can read it below. But wait! You can also download the book for free on Amazon for the next two days. In the meantime, enjoy the excerpt Don has shared with you below.
… and none of them have anything to do with making photographs.
We are all familiar with the common ones of making sure focus is correct, rule of thirds, tangents, and great gear. However, there are a few ways of looking at the image while we are shooting that can help us see what we are creating with more clarity and deliberateness.
And while exposure is often discussed, what is not discussed is “placing” the exposure and the ability of the photographer to have control over where the values should be.
If you’re trying to make a career as a photographer, you know that the road to success is not straight. There can be many photographers more successful than you, and comparing yourself to them can sometimes make you feel frustrated. Don Giannatti shares seven common assumptions we make about professional photographers, but also about our own work. These assumptions can make us see ourselves as we’re not good enough. Because of this, Giannatti explains why we should stop assuming and change our mindset, so we can achieve success of our own.
You know how you think about things around the edges, trying to formulate the thoughts into some kind of pattern that makes sense and can be challenged and won from various angles? You do?
Cool, then I’m not nuts. I do that all the time.
Recently I have been thinking about what I see as a disconnect between the level of competence beginning photographers have and their expectations.
We all know that the divide exists, but so often it is approached from a negative or insulting way… “Newbies! Killing the industry!” And that doesn’t work for me.
Not at all.
I am more concerned about people losing their dreams than the ‘health of the industry’. I really am.
When Malcolm Gladwell wrote his book, “Outliers“, he had a chapter devoted to the “10,000 hours” rule that intimated that it took 10,000 hours of practice to become good at something.
I think this single criterion has been mild to totally debunked already, and he has said that most who quote that are doing so out of the real context of it, but he was clearly making a statement regarding the absolute importance of practicing one’s skill.
What was fundamentally lacking in the oft-quoted “10,000 hours to achieve mastery” was the unforgiving truth that if you practice something incorrectly for 10,000 hours you will be a master at doing it incorrectly.
Clark Terry was one of the world’s best jazz trumpet players and educators (I guess he could DO as well as TEACH… who knew). He is also well known for stating the artists creative cycle in three short words: Imitate, Assimilate, Innovate. He was speaking toward musicians, but I am a strong believer that it is also applicable for photographers, designers, illustrators, dragster drivers, authors, animal trainers.
In short – it is simply how creative people learn to do what they do.
Recently there has been a spate of very sad, and ultimately defeatist articles decrying the “death of photography”. We have no shortage of examples. Seriously.
In all their pain and detailed examples of how the art and business of photography have been “ruined” (their words), I can find little to no examples of the basic, most important reason that photographers are falling behind.
Do you shoot with an “abundance” mental approach? Or is your choice to shoot from a mental state of “scarcity”?
It makes a difference, you know. It makes a difference in how you approach your subject matter. It makes a difference in the way you see the world. It can have a dynamic effect on your imagery, and on the work that you do in post.
Scarcity breeds contempt and anger, while abundance nurtures awareness and action.
[editor’s note: So, you have some time… Clients are not coming in. Instead of pouring your heart into social media, how about you do something. Here are three ideas that can kickstart a photography business. Will they work? I don’t know, but any of those sure bits sitting on your bottoms complaining about the state of the industry on social media.]