Passion, Photography, Photo-Contests & Perseverance…

Do you love photography?  You’re here reading this blog so I am betting you do.  I am also betting that it’s a bit of an all consuming passion – almost obsessive and takes up a lot of your time, energy and thoughts as well as any spare pennies that you might have.

I am also betting it is a bit frustrating too…

With so much information out there, from the 1000’s of blogs, websites and “How to…” videos on YouTube and not to mention that everyone seems to have an opinion on everything and anything ranging from computers to use, software to purchase, usually just based on what they themselves use and not what would most meet your own needs, working practices/workflow and budget.

Every day there seems to be a new lens, new camera, new must have software and everyday someone says you need to be doing something a certain way, or using a certain product, that you are not a “Proper” photographer unless you do…  And don’t get me started on what camera manufacturer is better than the other…!

Well, I am here to tell you that is utter rubbish!  I’m really wanting to say “Utter Bollocks!!” but I won’t 😉

Yes, if you want to take photographs, you need a camera, but a camera that meets YOUR requirements and what it is you want from YOUR photography.  More importantly, it has to be a camera you can, and will, use, a camera that sits in your bag cos you are too nervous (or just don’t know where to start) is no blinking good, or use, to anyone.

Yes, good glass, high quality lenses will always serve you well – they are an investment and for the main part you won’t go far wrong with purchasing lenses rather than upgrading your camera for the latest model every year.

Yes, now in this age of digital, if you want to do something with your photographs you need some form of computer and software package to help you get your images off your memory card and seen – but again, it needs to be right for you – someone with an iPad who doesn’t want to be doing anything too complicated might be happier with SnapSeed or Infinity than a big software package like Adobe Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud) – it all depends on what you want as your final result and what you want to achieve with your photography.

However, and this is the opinion and ethos we foster at Welshot – you don’t need to have the latest, all singing, all dancing camera, lenses, computer and software to be able to take photos or have a passion for photography…  You just have to do it.  Something I (Lee) myself am learning through Photography & More. 

You JUST need to know how to use all the tools and kit you already have – and use them to the very best ability, inside out and back to front.  Especially your camera.  Yes, as you grow, as you learn, as you develop and you begin to realise the genres of photography you are most interested you may need (or is it a want?) more specialised kit but here at Welshot we recommend the “Learn and try – before you buy” attitude first.  It is one of the reasons Welshot provide all the kit and equipment at our events – so YOU can try before you make any expensive purchases.  Another thing you may not know is that we always use equipment at our Welshot events, that is, for the main, affordable and easy to use yourself – unlike me, not everyone, is able to have a BossTog on hand and all times.

Right now, I am sitting in the Holiday Inn at Ellesmere Port, I am in the conservatory overlooking the Ellesmere Boat Canal Museum (it is a stunning day and so far sitting on a temp of 24) and Eifion is doing a One to One with an Academy Member. Listening into a conversation between them has actually inspired this blog post.  This is how it went…

Sam: I was at a wedding recently and I felt really intimidated by all the good cameras around and the expensive looking long lenses.

Eif:  Why did you feel intimidated?

Sam:  Cos those camera and lenses will get better pictures.

Eif:   Not so, not at all, it comes down to how that person is actually using their camera and if the correct settings are being used or not.

Me:  (Yeah, I butted in) – Sam, it works the other way too, someone who doesn’t have a lot of kit, or the most expensive, up-to-date equipment will get the better pictures if he/she knows how to get the best from their camera (and post processing)

Me: (again) – Also Sam, you can have all the kit, equipment in the world and unless you learn to use it, practice, take photos and open your computer to learn those post processing skills, it’s all going to be a waste of money.

Eif:  I know some great photographers, professional working photographers making a good living who never upgrade their cameras continually – choosing to do so only every 2 or 3 years or when they really need to, for instance, when it’s getting too old to do what it was meant for and is no longer fit for purpose nor supported by updates or certain software.  Those photographers just know instinctively how to use their cameras and how to get the best from them.

Louisa Crossley. Getting confident with her camera with the BossTog Eifion Williams – Image Credit: Dilys Thompson

Those Photographers who know their cameras inside out and back to front put the time and energy into their craft, by attending training sessions, by reading, watching and learning from those they admire on social media, they go to exhibitions, they study magazines, books and YouTube videos, they soak up as much information as possible but, and it is a big but, they then take their camera out of the camera bag, or they open up their laptop and they practice…

They practice, practice, practice and then they practice some more…

Entering competitions, photo-challenges, setting personal projects (it doesn’t matter what it is) and doing something with your camera on a daily basis will get EVERYONE, know matter what camera, no matter how many lenses you have and no matter whether you use a Mac or a Windows PC – this is “THE” only way you, or anyone, will ever get to be a good photographer…

Passion, dedication, practise, trying something new and leaving your comfort zone will get you to that happy place – I promise.

lee x

PS – We’d love to know what your photographic blocks are – maybe we could help you by creating an online tutorial.  Leave your comments below and we promise that we will do all we can to help YOU get the best from YOUR camera.

7 thoughts on “Passion, Photography, Photo-Contests & Perseverance…

  1. Sarah Rushton says:

    So true. And it’s what I’ve found really useful from attending events with Eifion on-hand, he deals with the camera (and it’s operator) that’s there and doesn’t say ‘you could do with x or y’, just helps you to get the best out of what you do have yourself.

    I have made one purchase since joining Welshot and that was to by a Macro lens, and that was having attended a day on Macro photography where I was recommended to get some (cheap) rings to increase the magnification of my existing lens, but was also lent a proper macro lens for part of the day by one of the tutors.

  2. Adi Benson says:

    I totally agree with Lee and Sarah. Having been a “snapper” for best part of 60 years I am still trying to get to grips with the basics. There is no point in throwing money at your photography in the pursuit of perfection if the fundamentals aren’t in place. However I still find myself suffering from lens jealousy and I’m sure that if i was still working and not on limited funds I would have all the all-singing all dancing gear that I lust after. It takes 10,000 hours to perfect a skill so my watchword is now practice practice and more practice.

  3. Liam McCaughey says:

    It’s true I only upgraded from Sony to Olympus because I broke the screen and it was to old to reliably fix. Eifion was on hand, via messenger for my questions going on for about a week before I decided which one to buy.
    If you come to an event someone or Eifion has spare kit and will let you try stuff. You can then ask real people using the kit for advice.

    People make time for each other on the events. Having just done the Longest Day for the second year it’s really an experience. I was so tired at stages like everyone else but it was still fun. Eifion’s a fab leader on these events and gives you confidence in your camera to try and try again. I still don’t feel like I took 500+ photos in one day.

    I struggle normally in large groups and feeling out of my depth but it’s not like that with Welshot. I’ve learnt a lot about settings, framing, looking from a different angle, reflections, objects, people and locations. It’s not just from the Welshot team, it’s the other likeminded people who attend as well.

    I was sceptical at first and it took me a long time to give Welshot a try, I’m glad I did!!

  4. ann james says:

    Yep guilty as charged – all the gear and no idea!!
    Knowing how to get the most out of your camera is a skill I am learning from Welshot events, as Liam has just said I am also intimidated by large groups, big cameras etc, but Welshot events are so informal, informative and EVERY body helps wherever they can and most of all have a laugh and fun throughout the event – from 2 hours to 20 hours 🙂
    Ohh and don’t let anybody say – Ooo thats a great picture – you must have a good camera!! remember somebody has to press the button.

  5. Sue Mannings says:

    I second what everyone else has said. I love your “all the geqr and no idea,” Anne! I will confess to having gone out on a ramble when I had bought by first slr and everyone decided I would capture the journey as I was the only one with a “proper” camera. Imagine my shame when I returned home and tried to get the film out of the camera – eventually having to swallow my pride and take it to a techy guy in work – only to be told I hadn’t put the film in in the first place! Oh! The shame! That was a long time ago and I’ve made plenty of bloopers since – though not as bad as that. I was amazed at the fact that Eifion is so willing to let you try out different lenses and equipment so you can really get the feel of what you are using – as do so many of the members! And that combined experience and advice is invaluable.

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