rainwalk3 copyI spent all day in a photography seminar taught by the wonderful Scott Kelby, and I just had to smile at some of the parallels to the writing life.

First, I thought the class would be attended by pros wanting to improve their craft.  Wrong!  Most of the 400 folks present had never sold a photograph, just like all the writing classes I’ve taken are filled with people who’ve never published a book.  Where are all the folks who want to improve?
Scott went on to talk about how important it is to tell people when something isn’t good work.  He said, “Who’s gonna tell you if your spouse won’t?”  What you need to do is look at hundreds, thousands of photographs so you develop an eye for what works and what doesn’t. That’s what’s missing in the lives of most photographers. They don’t study other photographers’ work.”
I think writers probably have an upper hand on that one—because most of us do read.  Perhaps not as much as we should, though. 🙂
Then he said that we photogs tend to go crazy on the details and drive ourselves nuts.  We putz around in Photoshop and Lightroom, sharpening, worrying about noise, worrying about the shape and number of catchlights in the eyes.  He showed us a picture that was way underexposed, then panned out to show us that it was a National Geographic national prize winner.  Why? Because it was interesting.
He said that some of us write blogs and expound at great length about whether or not we should have square catchlights or round catchlights or octagonal catchlights (the main reason for octagonal soft boxes).  But then he said, “Have you ever heard a client talk about the catchlights in the eyes? Or the noise in a picture? They don’t even know what it is.”
And he was 100 percent right.  🙂   And I giggled quietly, because I couldn’t help but think about all the times my writer friends and I have carried on about point of view and genre and punctuation and story structure, when the average reader could not care less about such things.
All she wants is a great story.
All viewers want is an interesting, moving image.
We craftsmen know when something works, and we know how to use the tools to make something better.  But driving ourselves crazy . . . well, it’s a little crazy.
Carry on.  🙂
D r .  A n g e l a  H u n t
Email: hunthaven@gmail.com



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