Photography Teaching Report

Filed in Industry Insight, Skill Building by on May 11, 2015 0 Comments

This past weekend I was honored to teach at a venerable local group: The Potomac Fiber Arts Guild. This is a community of creatives in a variety of fields (weaving, knitting, quilting, felting and many others) who truly enliven and enrich the local arts scene with their work. Like any good guild, they offer camaraderie, education and resources for improving skills and sharing completed pieces. I taught my photography class and it was a lot of fun. 

Photograph your work!My favorite part of that class is seeing what people can do in the environment where I’m teaching, and after only a one hour lecture about improving photography. They always go out into the hotels, convention centers and, in this case, the grounds of the church where we were meeting, and wow me with their instant photographic creativity. The image above shows everything I’m talking about. It’s just a gorgeous bag hanging on a car in natural light, but to me it’s good enough to publish.

It’s always good to see that a class will be successful if the group is engaged, and this was a good example of that. Everyone did the work and got results: that’s how creativity operates. There is sometimes a spark, or a natural talent, but after that, nothing will happen without work, failure and persistence. Nearly any skill can be learned, and learned well, but you’ll never discover if it’s something you can use to fulfill your need to create unless you practice.

If you’ll pair any learning you do with practice, you will get better, as was shown so clearly by this class of 20 on Saturday. They made so many lovely photos of their amazing creations using the things they had just learned, coupled with their previous experience at looking at things from new angles and solving problems. The other thing they did that I think is equally as important as practice is being willing to share. By sharing your work, you get feedback. If you can bridle your ego and be grateful someone would take the time to tell what they think about what you’ve done, you’ll gain valuable insight into what can make it better and, as a result, more satisfying for you.

Have you had any experiences with practice, failure, sharing, or any other part of the creative process, and how it helped you improve your skills that you’d like to tell us about? We’d love to know your story!


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