PhotoChat; Picking Your Priorities

PhotoChat is a weekly conversation between Photography Pro’s and Amateurs that takes place on Thursdays at 1PM EST hosted by Prime Social Marketing. To follow the conversation or take part use #Photochat on Twitter.

This blog post covers my longer answers to the questions that are condensed then put into tweets for the Photochat.

This Weeks Topic Is Picking Your Priorities

Q1: What’s more difficult: selecting your best work or maintaining your creativity?

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In my opinion one of my best images.

Both are quite hard things to do. Your best work is subjective, one of my best images from what other people say is not what I think is my best image.  For me my best image is a show of technical skill where as others like a nice picturesque image.
Also best images are constantly changing as you create new and better images. When working out what I should but in my book portfolio it is a long process of selecting images and then culling them back till I have a series of good images that work well with each other.

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Others believe this is my best image.

Maintaining creativity is really hard especially when we are trying to stand out from the crowd. To have a very creative idea that others may not have had before or develop a pre-existing idea is hard. It is a research, sketch and plan system that takes mental energy.

Though both are hard practises I would say that maintaining creativity is harder espcailly when you hit those brick walls and run low. Whereas once you start the process of selecting a good image, as new images come in you have a yard stick to measure them against, making it easier to judge what is good.

Q2: What’s a better investment: top-of-the-line gear or a photography degree?

I think it depends on the degree and what you do during the time you are studying. The first thing is a degree is not the door opener to the professional photo world. It is a learning curve and place where you can learn a craft as well as having access to professional set ups and equipment. Using this right and taking advantage of it can be a better investment than great gear.

Gear is only half the equation when it comes to creating  images, you also need the eye and the head to be able to take the image, process it and make it ready for output. When studying for a degree you can take electives in other areas such as web design, marketing, film, etc. which can help your work in the long run. Photography is no longer the static image on a print that it was 20 years ago; it is now social networks websites, blogs to share your work as well as creating images for different outputs.

I would say that a degree is worth it if you take advantage of everything on offer. Having great gear doesn’t make you a good photographer.

Q3: What’s more exciting: a brand new lens or a crazy vintage camera find?

Personally for me a vintage camera  is more exciting than a new lens. Lenses are getting faster and sharper, but I find having a vintage camera, I get the excitement from not knowing what the images will be like as well as trying to work with the cameras limitations to create images. A photographer I was listening to the other day should walk into a room given a camera and make it work.

A great expression of this is the Digital Rev Youtube videos Pro Photographer Cheap Camera Challenge. Although they are cheap cameras and not vintage the same idea applies. We are so into megapixels and burst images, wifi connected cameras for quick sharing, that sometimes going back to the simple practice of crafting an image with light can be a refreshing experience.

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An image that reignited my passion for photography.

Great image taken on the Mamiya 135. To be honest it was the rolls of film I shot through this camera two years ago that really got me interested in photography again after having not picked up my camera seriously in about 3 years. Vintage camera and Fuji Sensia broke my disillusionment in photography.

Q4: What’s more detrimental: an outraged client or a destroyed camera?

My first job after uni was in customer service in a betting shop. The rule was an unhappy customer will go and tell ten people about his/her experience and why he/she is unhappy. Although I cannot imagine destroying a camera and I can see the short term financial loss but with insurance this could be curbed.The future loss of an unhappy client is a long term loss.
Every time someone mentions your name they are likely to mention their bad experience. I sometimes think about my own experiences with restaurants. If I have a bad meal I won’t go back but when advising where people to go I will say not there.

For me an outraged client is more detrimental in long term losses. Sometimes it is better to look to the far future not the near future.

Q5: What’s more versatile: a professional lighting kit or state-of-the-art editing software?

I want to say lighting is more versatile since, the image that you take needs to be good before it enters the editing software. Yet editing software is more than just creating images. It can be used to create logos, headers for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even blog post pages. You can plan out the look of your website of book before moving them over to other programs. Editing programs do more than edit photographs.

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Logo for Twitter and Facebook created in Photoshop.

If I was given the option between a lighting rig and an editing package, I would go with the lighting rig every time.

I would love to know what your opinions to the questions are. Do you agree or disagree with my answers? Either way you can let me know using the comment box below.

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2 thoughts on “PhotoChat; Picking Your Priorities

    • He got some great images off that camera as well. I love those series of videos it does put into perspective how much technology actually is need to create good images.

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