How many of you out there golf?
I play once or twice a summer. I hit the driving range a little more frequently. I used to play 18 holes of par 3 every Sunday morning with an old (and very patient) boyfriend. Except, for me it should have been par 9 or 10.
I’m terrible. Like… god awful terrible.
But I enjoy it. Not in an obsessive way. Just in a “I like meandering about outside with something to do” kind of way. I realized a long time ago that I like it because it’s a challenge. It looks like it should be so easy but it’s sooooo not It. Is. So. Frustrating. That little white ball, that little bitty cup that’s so far away. Water, sand, clubs, long grass… and the only place to lay blame when you don’t get anywhere is squarely on your own two shoulders.
In an age where instant gratification is almost seen as a right, and fewer and and fewer people take responsibility for their actions and where blame is always laid somewhere else when something doesn’t go right, golf is one of the few places where it all comes down to you.
Oh sure, you can blame the wind or the sun or your golfing partner’s neon plus fours but it still all comes down to you. If you have the golf chops, the skill, the experience, you’ll know how to deal with that wind or sun, or tree and you’ll have the wherewithal to wear sunglasses to shield you from the view of the neon pants!
Every course has its nuances. The weather changes in moments. And there’s all those clubs – what the heck do they all do, anyway?
So, why am I talking about golf?
Because I’m about to go mental from listening to foodbloggers talk about how they would have better photos if only they had a better camera, different post processing software, more props, bigger windows, more lenses, blah blah blah.
6 Ways Golf Will Teach You To Have Better Pictures:
1. You will realize that photography is just like golf. That you, and you alone, are responsible for what comes out of your camera and you, and you alone, are the only one who can improve the output and that the only way you can do so is to practice, practice, practice.
2. You will understand that your camera is a tool. An instrument that you need to learn how to use, just like you need to learn to swing a golf club.
3. You will learn that your lenses are like clubs. Each one is good for something different and if you are skilled you will know exactly what each lens will do for you and how to use it to your advantage. You will also remember that a good golfer does not need a full golf bag to play a course. A skilled photographer doesn’t need a full camera bag to take amazing photos.
4. You will remember that serious golfers spend hours and hours and hours hitting bucket after bucket of balls at the driving range or putting ball after ball into a little practice cup. They keep a golf club in their car trunk, just in case they have an opportunity to hit some balls somewhere. A photographer serious about getting better takes photo after photo. They’ve read their camera manual from front to back, they can navigate the dials and buttons of their cameras in the dark, with their eyes closed from sheer repetition and practice. They carry their camera with them everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Just in case they see an opportunity.
5. You will recognize that just like a golfer must learn to read the lay of a course and the direction of the wind and the angle of the sun, you must learn to read light that surrounds you: use it to your advantage where you can and learn to compensate for what is lacking when you can’t. You will also recognize that in order to do this, you must gain experience, which you will get by practice, practice, practice.
6. A hole in one is rare. It is a combination of skill and luck. A jaw dropping photograph is the photography equivalent of a hole in one. It’s a combination of being presented a special moment and the practiced eye to recognize that you are seeing something special as well as the skill and patience to capture it when it appears. Do not expect a hole in one. Just like you don’t go out on the links and expect a hole in one, don’t expect one every time you pick up your camera. Just aim to improve with every shot you take and do the best you can under the circumstances.
Golf can be mindnumbingly frustrating. So can photography. It also looks like it should be so simple. Look through a little viewfinder, click the shutter and, voila! Right? But wait… what’s this mess on my LCD screen? That’s not what I was looking at…
So here is my mini-rant:
Knock it off with the gear worries, the prop purchases, the griping about the photo gallery sites, the comparisons with other people’s photos, the need to have the trendiest photo editing software.
A crappy photo of a cool prop is still a crappy photo.
Spending a fortune on expensive post processing software is not going to improve your photography. It just means you’re going to wind up spending an hour in front of a computer trying to save what is, in reality, a crappy photo.
If you don’t like the photos you’re taking, then get off your bum and read your manual and practice. If you’re not going to do that, I don’t want to hear about the rest of it. Not a peep. If you are doing those things and you still want to talk photography, I’m all ears and ready to help.
If you get rejected by a food gallery site don’t gripe. Sometimes, they’re right. Sometimes, we submit a crappy photo. Learn to listen and accept criticism or you won’t get better. And if you still really think they’re wrong, get over it and move on – take more photos. Photography is art. Art is subjective. Not everyone is going to like what you do. Learn to get used to it.
And one more thing… don’t EVER say to me “Oh I wish I had a cool camera like yours so I could take pictures as nice as you.”
My camera doesn’t take nice pictures. I do. And I work DAMN HARD to do so. Some days, I do ok. Some days, not so much. I still have a lot to learn and miles to go. I don’t have a god given talent. I practice. For hours. For years. Just like a concert violinist does scales over and over or a golfer hits ball after ball. As much as it comes from my heart, I still need the skills to pull it off the way I want. Implying it’s the camera, Lightroom, or a pretty prop is an insult to all the hard work I, and many, many other photographers put into it.
And last but not least, I’d like to introduce you all to Chase Jarvis. He is one of N. America’s premiere photographers and one of the visionaries behind Creative Live, the group that brought you all Penny De Los Santos a few weeks back. He also has an iPhone portfolio. He takes beautiful photos regardless of the tool he has in his hands because he’s got the skills. He knows how to read light and compose an image.
Only a poor craftperson blames their tools. Work on the craft. It will be as frustrating as putting that little white ball in that little cup. But it’s a hell of a lot of fun! And if it’s not, find something else to do with your time that is fun.
That is all.