Sunday, September 09, 2012

Knowledge and Practice

Hat tip to my friend and fellow photographer, Tom McElvy, for the Beethoven quote. Click the pic if you can't easily read it. Old Ludwig B, as well as Tom, provided my personal inspiration for writing today's update.


The two best ways to improve your photography is via knowledge and practice.... knowledge and practice... k-n-o-w-l-e-d-g-e  and  p-r-a-c-t-i-c-e.

Growing your knowledge about photography is a never-ending pursuit. Practicing photography is a never-ending drill. Together, they represent the key, the combination, to unlocking photography's secrets and producing your very best work.

Whenever I learn something new about photography, something that really grabs my interest, I put it into practice. I don't mean I simply try it out once and Bingo! It's part of my repertoire. If I really like it, I practice it over and over till I nail it, till it becomes nearly automatic. I might have to practice it a few times or many times but I rarely try out new, unpracticed knowledge on a client's dime. Instead, I wait until practice and repetition, on my own dime, time, whatever, makes me comfortable with incorporating what I've newly learned (and practiced) into my production work-flow.

Someone once said, "The eyes are useless when the mind is blind."  When photographic knowledge is a scarce commodity in your brain, your eye, which is your greatest photography tool, might as well be blind. Some might say your mind is your greatest photographic tool. There's a whole lot of truth to that, but try snapping great pictures without your eyes.

Learning new things, gaining new knowledge, and practicing that new knowledge begets even more knowledge. In other words, the more you practice what you've learned, the more you learn even more. And that often occurs simply from practicing what you've already learned. Cool, ain't it? It's an awesome never-ending cycle!

These days, photographic knowledge is so easy to come by. There's no excuse for anyone to pretend knowledge is hard to come by. There are thousands of books, web sites, blogs, other photographers and more to learn from.

Today, photographic knowledge is like a tree with its branches hanging low from the sheer weight of all the Fruit of Knowledge hanging from it. And it's all within arms-reach! In fact, as a metaphor, merely comparing today's abundant availability of photo knowledge to a single fruit tree doesn't adequately cover its scope and breadth. It's more like there's an entire orchard of photographic-knowledge fruit trees beckoning you to come choose and pick all you want. From the perspective of developing and enhancing your photographic skills, it may be the best time ever to be a photographer!

Just so you don't think I'm blind to the fact that I didn't post one of my customary eye-candy pics at the top, here's a couple (below) of Anna I snapped a few months ago.  (Click to enlarge.)


Jesse said...

There is so much to know, so much to learn and so much to put into practice. But how does a working professional have time to practice when most pretty girl shoots r a major production? Time, location and a hot model can become expensive for practice.

jimmyd said...

Jesse: Every time I shoot I feel like I'm also practicing what I know how to do. Sometimes, I discover small refinements (for lack of a better word) to things I routinely do. They're not "big deal" things but if I discover enough of them, over time they add up and become incorporated into my normal production flow and either add to the efficiency of my shoots and/or the quality of my work.