Stay Focused Student

I am asked occasionally what is the most important thing I have learned as a photographer. Honestly, it’s that I will forever be a student of my craft. The day you stop learning or worse, the day you believe you know it all is the day you need to get rid of your gear. My mentor Jim has been behind the lens over 35 years and is still learning new ways to perfect what I believe he is already a master of. I also think that you have to focus on your strengths. In my case, I am not strong in lighting, never have been. No matter how many times I have been shown, I just seem to never grasp on to all the complexities professional studio lighting has to offer. I don’t know if it’s because there are too many variables of what could be that I psych myself out, I don’t know. What I am strong in, Jim isn’t and he’ll be the first to tell you. I am strong in directing a set, working with themes and coordinating large shoots. He tells me frequently that he just can’t direct the way I do and I know I can’t do lighting the way he does. For years now, I have taken Jim on shoots to ensure that things go off without a hitch. You have to be able to know and recognize your strengths as well as your weaknesses. This is the same attitude to approach everything in life. You aren’t going to know everything, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for help, to focus on what you do know and ask help where you don’t. The worst photographers you could hire are the know it all types who refuse to take direction from anyone. In a day and age where it is very easy to purchase a DSLR camera and print out a few hundred business cards, please be mindful of who you are hiring to capture precious moments with you.