GRASSHOPPA’, Make Sure The Person YOU Decide To Follow Knows Where They Are Going!

I hope at least some of you are old enough to have seen the old Kung Fu series on television with David Caradine, his master/teacher called him “Grasshoppa”, which he really meant to say Grasshopper, but he obviously had a problems pronouncing his R’s.  In my post yesterday, I explained that I went to the park on Saturday to do a quick session of my son for his senior pictures.  I never do sessions on Saturdays and if I do, it wouldn’t be at the park because there are just so many people and about a quarter of them of photographers of all skill levels out taking pictures.  Everyone has to learn and practicing on non-paying clients is the way to do it so I applaud them!

One thing that I noticed is that there were many photographers teaching other photographers about outdoor lighting.  I felt like I was at an outdoor photography convention.  As I watched all this going on and being completely amazed at the number of photographers and the amount of coaching going on, I started paying attention to the lighting and locations these wanta’bee mentors were using to demonstrate outdoor lighting to their photo-friends/groupies.  There is a reason why our profession is getting so messed up and I think I found it.  There was one “mentor” showing his student outdoor lighting and he had the girl in direct sunlight, with the light from the sun high in the sky and at a 90 degree angle to her face, can anyone say, “deep set eyes and a huge nose shadow?”  Another guy had to be the “Richie-Rich” of his bunch of photo-groupies because he had every reflector, gobo, stand, clamp and weight sold at B&H and he had brought every one out and connected them together.  It look like a tent-city made one scrim at a time.  He didn’t know how to use equipment or what each reflector fabric was for, but he had it all and wanted to show them off!  (08888)

I make fun of these guys not because they are learning, that is the process everyone must go through, (BEFORE THEY WORK WITH PAYING CLIENTS).  The problem is generally with men and it not just Photographers.  Some strange thing starts happening to men (generally) when they start learning something, after a week a instruction they start trying to teach others all they know.  This same unusual behavior happens in our Salsa Class.  Men come in for their first group class and it’s like they have two left feet.  Two weeks later they still dance like they have two left feet but now there are newer people who know less than them so they turn into the Great Mentor.  After each dance they give advice to each woman on how they can improve and what they did wrong.  The women in our class really enjoy this!

There are so many younger people interested in photography that they are looking to those who know just a little more than them for direction.  This is great is you don’t mind traveling down many roads,  in the wrong direction that will end up at a distination where you don’t want to be!  A professor, photography teacher in high school,  a successful studio owner, an author, a speaker at a seminar or convention all have enough knowledge to be in the position they are in and can help you in your pursuit of learning photography.  Being mentored by some gas-bag who is in the same “photo 1” as you will only teach you things you have to unlearn later.  If you are learning photography, get a photography book, textbook or notes from a program and go to the park alone or with peers (not mentors) and practice the concepts taught by people who know what they are doing.  Unless you are like the women that listen to the salsa-dude with two weeks experience and want to dance like you have two left feet as well!  GrassHoppa’, select those you learn from carefully, for you can learn the right way once or be an eternal student learning the wrong way over and over again!

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~ by jeffsmithbooks on May 17, 2010.

One Response to “GRASSHOPPA’, Make Sure The Person YOU Decide To Follow Knows Where They Are Going!”

  1. I agree. Too many people try to tell new photographers how to do things and they do not even know what they are doing. That is why I look to your books and you tube tips. I like to follow only professional photographers, although some newbies have some good tips also.

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