Practice is only the repetition of an action.  Whether that action is correct will determine if the practice helps you or has you developing bad habits. Good example, one of your first seminars you go to after becoming a professional photographer is a good speaker, but they preach the over-shoot and edit down theory of professional poverty.  Being that the speaker seem so successful you cant help but buy in to the whole idea.  You get back to your business and go wild shooting your camera like an AK47 in an enemy war zone.  You capture hundreds of images, most being crap that you have to edit out.  This business model doesn’t work because time is money and the more you use your brain and plan a session and the images you wish to create the more profitable the session is!  Being that you have been practicing a flawed method, you have just given yourself a very bad habit that will take years to break!

I see the same thing when I hire new photographers for doing yearbooks or photographing at dances.  I would rather take some one that knows nothing about photography and teach them, then deal with all the bad habit of young photographers who have learned, not from their professors or photography books, but their jug-headed friends who only know slightly more than they do.  Some of the biggest blunders every made in our studio have come from photography students who knew just enough to be dangerous.

This leads me to how to practice perfectly.  First of all, you have to find someone who is where you want to be professionally.  Not a sponsored mouth piece that makes their money from lighting and camera company sponsorships.  Nor do you want to learn from someone you know nothing about.  You want to make sure that the person you learn from is speaking from experience and not theory.  In today’s world everyone thinks they are an expert.  The internet is full of free guides and ebooks from people who have never done what they are trying to help you learn to do.  I have often commented on the people who offer free guides to social media marketing for photographers of my group of that same name.  These hucksters will post on the Facebook groups wall an advertisement and they wont even have a profile photo.  How can you help others to do something you don’t know how to do themselves.

Photography programs, success and wealth programs, work at home part-time and make  $30,000 a month in your underwear ads and so many others are hoping that you just fell off the turnip-truck!  The problem with these programs is that they are based on the theories of someone rather than the experiences of someone.  Many of these programs have you practicing to get bad habits not practicing perfectly to become perfect.

In photography, you learn outdoor photography from the gadget freaks that have 4 on camera TTL flashes linked together and control at the camera, it sounds so high-tech, so easy!  The problem is you never learn outdoor photography.  You learn how to produce semi-professional lighting with a bunch of expensive toys.  On Monday, I was at the beach we use and go to several times a year.  The weather on the beach, at least in our area is cloudy and overcast one minute, sunny the next and then back to overcast only moments later.  I shot sessions  all day changing from natural light to creating a main-light source with reflectors through every session,  and a few times using a translucent to diffuse the sunlight for a main light source and I did it without is slowing down the time frame of each session.  I wasn`t easy, but I am a professional photographer, if it was easy in today’s world wouldn’t you think you could be replaced by a kid in high school with a good camera and a little practice?  When photographers say something is easy, when it comes to lighting, I doubt the business savvy of the person teaching.  I want to do what everyone else can not, I want to learn what Newfus and his friends can never learn and I want to produce portraits that my clients can’t get elsewhere and none of that is easy.

There are so many examples of bone-headed ideas that have little business merit being taught in our profession. I see so many photographers that are teaching and creating crap in the camera and bringing it to a professional level in Photoshop.  This would be a great class on Photoshop, but not a profitable business system to follow in Photography.  There are so many gifted teachers out there in colleges, professional seminars, conventions and books that will teach you how to practice perfectly, instead of practicing to get bad habits.  Gary Box, Kirk Vulcan, David Peters, Larry Peters, Sarah Petty and so many more offer real education from their successful experiences (and yes me too) and they are names you can trust. There programs, DVD’s, books and materials do cost a little more than the guy without the profile photo, but they will teach you how to practice perfectly and become a master at what you do, rather than a doofus with bad habits.



~ by jeffsmithbooks on October 6, 2010.

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