May I Rant?

We're in a very busy time, right now, so the next few blogs may be a little short.  We'll be back to normal in a couple of weeks. __________________________

Can you look into the mirror and be honest with yourself?  I mean really honest?  Do you know your shortfalls, as well as your skills?  What are you doing to mitigate your weaknesses and promote your strengths?  I don't want to scare people away by getting all deep and philosophical and such, but it can be helpful to do a personal assessment, now and then.  Rather than send you to lie down on the couch with some professional help, let's narrow our scope dramatically and limit this exercise to your photography.  (Whew!)

How serious are you about photography?  I'm not trying to draw boundaries around your hobby/art/business; I'm trying to get you to be honest with yourself about it.  Do you just like looking at the pretty photos?  Is it a pastime?  Are you trying to stretch your mind and try something new?  Do you want to make some extra cash?  Or are you really passionate about the entire world of photography, and it consumes vast amounts of your thoughts and time?

Of course, all of these choices are valid, but, if you take the time to place yourself on the continuum, it may help you make some decisions about which camera/lens you should buy or should you spend your vacation money on a cruise or at a photography convention.  Your knowledge will help you set realistic goals and time allocations for your pursuit.  Because, unlike our discussions here, you can't just separate your entire life into neat, little topics; there are other demands, priorities, and wants vying for your attention, time, and dollars.

The point is to enjoy photography on your own terms.  Don't let others dictate your path.  If you just want a camera for snapshots, and you don't plan on going further, don't listen to your friend with 16 lenses and the top-of-the-line camera chiding you to join his quest to spend money.  If you're not going to dedicate the time to learn Photoshop, why buy it?  There are simpler and less expensive alternatives to Photoshop.  Use the money to buy a print from one of your favorite photographers.  Seriously, this will make both of you happier.

And, conversely, if you are sure that you must make photos to be happy, then get out there and do it.  Don't make excuses why you can't.  The most common excuse is money, but you can borrow gear or purchase used and third party equipment to save money.  Need a flash?  A Yongnuo flash is $100.  That's quite a discount from a $500+ Canon or Nikon flash.  Learn to use your current gear to its fullest extent.  Many of today's point and shoots have more capabilities than the "professional," top-end cameras of just 10 years ago.  Somehow, the pros still made money with their cameras back then.  Artists weren't waiting around for better cameras to pursue their art.  And nobody looking at your beautiful photo will ask or care what equipment you used to create it.

[Stepping down from the soapbox.]

This rant brought to you because we constantly see people in our emails, training, and photowalks who feel like there is only one way to participate in photography or be a "real" photographer.  There are soooo many ways for you to enjoy it.  Once you determine your photographic priorities and let the rest fall away, you'll have much more fun.  And, of course, you can change your position along the continuum whenever you want.  We hope, wherever you are, you'll continue to enjoy photography with us here at Efcubed Photography.

Pardon my tone.  I'm OK now.  I think I'll go take a nap.

Washington, DC, Cherry Blossom Festival