I love working with new photographers. I recently had the honor of working with several high school students. They were excited, energetic, full of enthusiasm and willing to learn. They also brought a fresh perspective to photography that amazed me.
Talking with all of them I was struck by the similarity of their questions – most having to do with gear. What camera should I buy? How many lenses do I need? Etc. These were followed by questions like – “What should I photograph?”
To each of these questions I answered in a way that I am afraid might have frustrated some of them. Nonetheless – I thought it important to gently guide them down the right path from the start.
In each case, I responded with four little words:
“Tell me your story!”
You see ALL communications and ALL media – whether they be centered around radio, television, motion pictures, blogs, podcasts or photography – revolve around story. Story is everything. If you get that, you’ll be a better photographer.
Both the photographer’s story and the subject’s story impact a photograph. The photographer’s story is important because it’s about what they have to say. Great photographers NEED to tell their story or someone else’s story. And the story of your subject is what makes people care about your images.
So remember….dont focus on gear, or technique – focus on storytelling. The rest will take care of itself.
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