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Amateur vs Professional part III

July 4, 2009

Since I’m on a roll, why stop now? There is still more to this path of least effort. Today let’s talk about the amount of time spent on a subject.

Granted, serious photographers can be a bit obsessive. I know I am. Notice how many times I’ve visited Bombay Hook. A more casual photographer might go there once and then never return. After all, why keep photographing the “same thing” over and over? And yet, each time I’ve visited Bombay Hook, I’ve come away with something different.

You also see people photographing commando style. They will hit a target and then quickly move on to the next target. Whereas I’ve been known to spend 30 minutes photographing just one flower. Maybe I’m waiting for the light to be just right. Or for the wind to die down. Or a bee to show up. Or one to finish his business and move on. Maybe I’m trying different settings and comparing the end results.

Because I typically only show my one very best result, most people would have no sense of the amount of time and effort was put into it. They compare their 3 second snapshot against my 30 minute bit of obsession and assume it must be because I “have a better camera” or possess some magical skill.

Some people come to my workshops looking for me to reveal some amazing secret they’ve never heard before and that will instantly transform every picture they take into a work of art.

Here is the secret: WORK. A good photo is usually much harder work than people realize. Even if I (or anyone else) can point and snap off a great work of art in three seconds, what is reflected in that end result is years of study and work. There are no shortcuts.

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