Recently a friend of mine was infected with ‘the bug’ which she caught from her husband.
She was encouraged and had knowledgeable mentors. She even ‘inherited’ a decent DSLR
when her husband saw the infection of his wife by ‘the bug’ as the perfect opportunity/excuse
to upgrade his kit.
My friend was given a very brief introduction to her new camera and lens and an even briefer
acquaintance with the principals of photography. She was then thrown into the bottomless pit
of CS4 Photoshop extended and shooting in RAW. She was ‘guided’ in a formal portrait shoot
with a plethora of lighting equip., projectors, reflectors, flashes, snoots etc. and was then
‘guided’ through the RAW processing in PS. I use the term ‘guided’ here with reservation. I think
‘misguided’ would be a far more appropriate term.
The outcome of all this was a pretty unsuccessful portrait shoot with attempts to save/salvage/fix
badly lit portraits using an even worse overkill of PS, which only resulted in my friend being somewhat
disillusioned and overwhelmed by all the technology and in actual fact with very little photo time, but much computer time.
Sensing her disappointment/disillusionment, I suggested to her to try and experiment. To reshoot
the portraits (of her children) in the same setting, but this time, just her and the kids
and without any advisers. I told her to use only the natural light which came through the large
window with one, bounced off the ceiling, flash. A very simple and basic setup. I told her to shoot
on automatic everything. This allowed her to interact and concentrate on the kids and the photos
without being burdened by the technology. She could also now shoot in Tiff or jpeg, use a much
simpler editing program so as not be overwhelmed by the hugeness of RAW and PS.
She, needless to say, was completely blown away by the simplicity of it all and the photos were
very much more successful then the previous shoot, with a little cropping the only editing being done, .
With time I am confident that she will start experimenting and learning to use the camera less and
less on automatic in order to have more control as well as doing more sophisticated editing, as she begins to understand what she wants. Meanwhile, she is once again keen and excited. She now realizes that she can go forward in simple easy steps, starting with the basics and building up her photographic arsenal without being overwhelmed by technology.
She can concentrate on her photography.