Watching and learning from other photographers

At events like this fundraiser Arts, Crafts & Beers for Riverside Art Museum, it's useful to shoot tethered so that my subjects can see what I'm trying to capture. Mouse over to see picture I got.

I love watching other photographers work.

It’s fascinating because no 2 photographers see the same picture in any given situation.

Sure, they might size up the situation similarly especially if they have the identical lens.

But not every photographer will agree on how much of the scene is important.

Nor will they agree on which moment is important.

It’s precisely for that reason, without sounding judgmental, I would ask myself, “If I were behind the camera, would I shoot this the same way?”

Lessons: watch a wedding photographer

Even if you have no aspirations to take up this line of work, you can learn from this.

The wedding photographer, is a good study. Part charmer, part business person and part artist.

Exactly how much time they spend in those 3 hats depends on how good their photography, people and marketing skills are.

I suggest watching a wedding photographer because you not only get to watch them working on the day itself, but you can also see the results of his labor for that day simply by asking the bride to share her pictures with you.

The top echelon of photographers

Being at the White House is a big deal for most of us. Imagine being the President’s photographer.

The National Geographic documentary entitled “The President’s Photographer” gives us a rare behind-the-scenes look at how the president’s life is documented.

You get a chance to shadow President Obama’s photographer Pete Souza as he strolls the corridors of power, blend into the background and work unobtrusively.

Photographers from other administrations are also interviewed in this very intriguing documentary.

Some of their anecdotes are riveting.

The one that comes to mind is the one told by Eric Draper (President Bush’s photographer) about the morning of 911.

Speaking of top photographers, Joe McNally is another household name. He has teamed up with David “Strobist” Hobby on their Flash Bus and are on the road.

Those 2 pros are entertaining to watch and passionate about teaching others. Just expect to be in a huge convention hall with about a thousand others.

No budget for classes?

Your local picturesque park is probably a good place to hang out on a Saturday afternoon if you are itching to learn.

Chances are you’ve seen the limos park near a spot where photographers frequent with their clients whether it’s a wedding or quinceñera.

If you take careful notes of the lenses, light modifiers (umbrellas & softboxes) and lighting gear the photographer uses and also do some online research, you can save yourself a bundle of money because you’ll see what works and what doesn’t in the field where it matters.

When photography is a hobby, you sure buy a ton of worthless gear.

2 thoughts on “Watching and learning from other photographers”

  1. Paul,
    If you have access to Netflix, that documentary “The President’s Photographer” is available on their instant viewing (streaming) library.

    When I watched it, I was of course paying attention to what lens was on the camera and what the photographer was trying to get.

    It’s nice to see a still image held in such high regard like the White House in today’s digital age, isn’t it?

  2. Great info Pete.

    I remember in college watching some of the elder students as they worked structure fires and news events. I learned from many of them how to get close.

    I’m definitely getting me one of those books.

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