the Proto Photographer

Taking better pictures … with a little more class


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[photo credit: Aaron Kaffen @]

There’s no shortage of ways in which one can spend money on photography. Thousands can be lost on lenses, bodies, lights, films … for some this is just a cost of doing business, some folks simply like their toys. But for others, the endless buying of “gear” is an attempt to become more “photographer”. That is to say, there’s a segment of, mostly amateur, photographers that’s convinced they could take better photos if they could just afford a nicer camera … or lens … or lights.

That these folks exist is hardly a surprise. But it’s curious that, in all of their spending, few of them will ever spend their hard-earned monies on a photography class. Why, after years and thousands of dollars spent on stuff, doesn’t it ever occur to them to have someone show them how to use it?

Sadly, as one of the aforementioned, I can answer that question quite simply. We’ve spent so much time and money trying to convince folks that we know what we’re doing with a camera that it’s become exceedingly difficult to walk into a classroom and admit to a real professional that we, in fact, know very little.

It’s a humbling prospect to absorb the looks of an instructor who, after a couple minutes of conversation, will quickly realize that you had no need to spend thousands on your Canon 5D. Who will, without much ado, expose you for the fraud that you are, and in front of a room full of people, no less.

How sad that we’ve let our limitations limit us? We let our potential as photographers languish under the weight of our egos. Going on, year after year, dollar after dollar, trying to find that magic lens or body that will take the place of simply going to a more knowledgeable source and asking, “How do I do this?”

What then to do? Go take a class. Any class. Pick the area of photography in which you’re most inept and find an instructor that’s brilliant at it. Walk proudly into their class and proclaim you ineptitude with a loud, clear voice. Then sit back and soak up the knowledge. It will, likely, be the best money you’ve ever spent on photography.

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