Sunday, May 6, 2012

How Come I'm Not Getting The Shots?

© Rick Sammon
I teach a lot of workshops throughout the year. Every so often a workshop participant asks: "How come I'm not getting the shots that the other photographers are getting?"

© Rick Sammon
I've seen this happen on all different types of workshops - wildlife, people, landscape and so on. I've heard this from my fellow workshops instructors, too.

© Rick Sammon
The answer, sometimes, is equipment. In some situations, a certain lens, say a 400mm or a 15mm, is indeed needed.

In other situations, it's luck.

Of course, sometimes the photographer is a novice and has not yet acquired the skills to get specific shots.

Sometimes, and this is the point of this post, it's the photographer's responsibility.

To help all workshop participants, here's my list of "A Workshop Participant's Responsibilities." 

Know your camera - especially when it comes to fine-tuning the exposure with the +/- exposure compensation control - or dialing in the correct exposure manually. After all, for every photographer, there is only one correct exposure.

Stick like glue to the instructor.

Ask to see the instructor's photographs, and the photographs of the other workshop participants.

Know that the instructor is not a "mind reader" when it comes to your needs.

Show the instructor, and the other participants, your pictures as often as possible on your camera's LCD panel.

Be part of the "team" - and join in the fun, as well as the work.

Ask questions.

Do your homework before leaving home on the location, subject and the equipment that's needed.

Sit with the instructor during Photoshop and Lightroom sessions and see how your shots can be improved.

Set goals, and maybe even a specific goal.

• • • • • 

So my friends, speak up, join in, ask questions, know your camera, do your homework, don't assume anything, set goals, stick like glue . . . and you'll get the most out of a photo workshop. The more you put in, the more you'll get out.

Explore the light,

P.S. One example of "putting in = getting out."

On my recent Light Photographic Workshop in Alaska with Hal "Bull" Schmittt, workshop participant Linda Cullivan set many goals, one of which was to learn how to create a montage in Photoshop. We sat together for hours aboard the Norther Song (middle photo). She worked hard . . . and got it! Above is her first Photoshop montage, which Linda created during the workshop. Nice work, Linda - who also stuck like glue to the instructors.

Scroll down to my posts from this awesome Alaska workshop.


Anonymous said...

Your pages are very tough to view on the iPhone. I keep trying to move the photo around to see more of it and it changes pages and goes back to a previous post. It does this over and over just by moving your finger on the screen. Too touchy and very annoying. Just thought I'd tell you because you might lose people who don't want to put up with it like me. Thanks for the article though.

Tom Baker said...

Rick you are so right about the responsibility of the photographer. I've been on both sides now - the student in one of your classes and an instructor in my own right and the classes where people are asking me questions, sharing photos, really trying to LEARN in an interactive way are so much better than the "I'm going to be here and you guess what I need or want to learn" - it shows in how much fun people have in the classes and more importantly it shows in the pictures.