UA-71413578-1 Telling or Teaching? | G C Photo Courses Blog

Gold Coast Photography Courses

It's not the camera - It's your knowledge.

Telling or Teaching?

There is a huge difference between ‘telling’ and ‘teaching’!.

Anyone can stand in front of a group and simply repeat information that is already available to you, (there are 1000’s internet sites and books already written about photography). This is not teaching!!
Anyone can hand out notes to students about every aspect of photography. This is not teaching!!
I will tell you, and I will show you. Then I will teach you.
There is a huge difference between ‘telling’ and ‘teaching’!.

Anyone can stand in front of a group and simply repeat information that is already available to you, (there are 1000’s internet sites and books already written about photography). This is not teaching!!
Anyone can hand out notes to students about every aspect of photography. This is not teaching!!
I will tell you, and I will show you. Then I will teach you.
I was like you - once upon a time.

When I purchased my first SLR (an Olympus OM-10) I told the salesperson that I did NOT want to know about all the F-numbers and settings - I wanted a fully automatic camera. (Sound familiar?)
And it took great photos - as long as the conditions were also good, and I remembered to put the sun behind me. But really I was only taking ’snapshots’. (Can you relate this?)
It wasn’t long before I realised that I needed to understand a bit more about ’those numbers’ in order to achieve better results. 
The salesperson told me that I could buy a ’Manual’ adapter for the OM-10 - so that “when I was ready to start taking better photos”, I could over-ride the camera’s AUTO settings. He was correct.

The adapter was purchased. That is when the adventure began….
Now, this was back before digital cameras were even thought of. There was no internet. Only large corporations had a computer. 

We used film…..developing and printing was expensive. We had “darkrooms” where we would lock ourselves away and get poisoned by the chemicals to produce a black a white image that had tonal range - from one shade lighter than pure black, to one shade darker than pure white. (Do you understand the importance of this?)
I joined short courses and enrolled in an “Associate Diploma in Art- majoring in Photography’, but I wasn’t learning what I wanted to know. Yes, there was some photography involved - but it was an ‘Art History’ course. If I wanted to learn History, I would have studied it at school…
I was learning stuff, but it wasn’t the ‘nuts and bolts’ that I needed to know, or if it was I couldn’t grasp it enough to fully understand it. (Sound familiar?)
Many many hours were spent studying the principles of exposure, and the relationships between Apertures, Shutters, ASA, camera metering methods and light. Because they were complex topics I also developed ways to remember how these functions interrelate.
Then I was told that my camera was not good enough - that if I wanted to be professional, I needed a “Medium Format’ camera.  A 35mm negative is 36mm x 24mm. A negative from a medium format camera can be 6 x 4.5cm or 6 x 6 cm.
So I purchased a medium format Mamiya C330 twin-lens reflex camera with two sets of interchangeable lenses. It used 120 films. It was completely Manual - even the shutter had to be ’cocked’ before I could take a picture. 
With my enthusiasm and understanding and knowledge of light, metering, camera functions and armed with a medium format camera, I did my first ‘real’ model shoot at Merewether Beach in Newcastle.
In the darkroom I produced Black & White prints to be proud of. The model was ecstatic with the results. Her mother was ‘over the moon’ and wanted copies for everyone. Success!!
Next step was to connect with the top Model Agency in Newcastle. Appointment made, photos in a folder, wearing the best suit I had available, polished shoes, and in I went.
To my surprise, the head of the agency was a girl (young woman?) I had often seen out and admired (from a distance) because of her style and aura.
I proudly showed her my images. That was when it all fell apart…….Now, realise, this is quite a while ago - before ‘political correctness’, before being afraid to say something that may offend someone, even if it was for the recipients benefit. She sat there and picked all my images to pieces - one-by-one - each comment cut deeper. Her advice was to keep practising and come back another time.
I can still recall the conversation like it was yesterday, and the gut-wrenching disappointment I felt at the time. But eventually I really appreciated her honest feedback and I still say ‘Thank You’ (mentally) very often.
From that experience, I learnt that no-one really cares what camera you use (unless they are another photographer). And it is EXPECTED that you fully understand the camera’s functions, lenses, light and all the other bits that go together to use your camera. After all - you are a photographer, aren’t you?
What IS important is the final image - how, you, as the photographer put all elements together to create an image that you are proud of or meets you clients needs. (Beware - they may not be the same).
Has all this changed with the digital revolution? NO. It just means it’s easier to produce masses of mediocre boring photos. The fundamentals still apply, it's just easier now. But it's harder to compete because now ‘everyone is a photographer’.
You may be more creative than me - I hope you are. But I have are more knowledge and experience than you.
So use your creativity, and learn from me, and you will produce outstanding images.
I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you and seeing you grow.
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