Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Photographers Be Brutal: Grade Yourself

Do you remember elementary school?

Do you remember how you got a report card about all the subjects you were taking?

Math. Science. English. Social Studies. Music. Even gym.

Now it's time to grade yourself as a photographer. First, you're going to do this on your own. And you're gonna like it whether you hate it or not. Sit your ass down and let's start with just the basics. Leave a comment. If you're man/woman enough, put your name next to it. Otherwise, be anonymous, but just be honest.

In the information age we live in, its so easy to pick up a camera, read a few blogs of inspiration, pay for some silly forum membership, and bang, you're now a professional photographer.

Camera Knowledge - ? - How well do you know your camera body inside and out? How quickly can you change any setting within split seconds? How do megapixels truly affect the quality of an image? What's metering? What's the difference between a CCD and CMOS? 

Flash Knowledge - ? - You get my drift so far. Think about ratios. Think about channels. Think about master. Think about slaves. Think about setups. Think bounce. Think power. Think it all.

Lighting - ? - What do you know about measuring light? What do you know about harsh and soft shadows? Think about softboxes. Think about light stands. Think about power sources. Think about triggers. How well do you know these and more? If you say 'but I'm a natural light shooter so this really doesn't apply to me' give yourself a 'D' automatically for effort.

Lenses - ? - Sounds easy, but how well do you know what your lenses do. If someone told you to just shoot wide open cause they do it, give yourself an automatic 'D.' When do you think you should use or not use AF? Do you even know what AF stands for? What's barrel distortion? What apertures do you use at any given time? What are advantages of a prime lenses? Disadvantages? How about zoom lenses? When should you use a lens hood and shouldn't? If you leave the lens cap on ever, give yourself a 'D' for effort.

History - ? - Surprised? Shouldn't be. How much history do you know about photography? Who are were the pioneers and artists that defined the craft through the past 170 years? What methods and technology gave way to where we are today?

These are just the basics. Things all pros should know.  We haven't even scratched the surface of taking photos, composition, rules, rendering, metering, AF points, industry laws, and the ever popular summation of all of the above to arrive to a great photo IN CAMERA.

This was just a quick thought provoking memo for my readers during my 15 minute lunch break. Something to think about and help you reflect on what's important when you call yourself a pro. Many 'pros' in today's industry don't even know the above the basics.  

For now, I have to get back to work. I've got bathroom cleaning duties. The new high school cheerleader is really cute, so the manager gave her my drive-thru duties today. What a punk.

By the way, if you can get any of your rockstar friends to take this 'grade yourself' exercise and publicly display it, I'll be impressed. If they don't, demand it before you pay them a dime to buy their 50% off Workshop on a DVD specials on Twitter or the how to schedule a client meeting book for slow people, or attend one of their workshops in Paris. 

It's your money. It's your industry.

Keep stalking Photogzilla Rockstar!
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