The past couple of days has been great for me when it comes to family. I got to hang out with my younger sister in deeper, loving ways than we’ve ever had in a long, long time and I also got to attend a cousin’s wedding in Tema, where I partly grew up.
Meeting all those old faces was both a great and sad moment for me. Isn’t it amazing how you meet people from over a decade ago and nothing about them has changed; although the world is moving so fast?
If there is one word that sums up this wedding, it is “JARRING”. First, the groom was in a loud yellow shirt and a white suit. I have photographed many weddings but this is my first time encountering a “loud” groom. Secondly, the speakers were so loud, my daughter just freaked out and my wife ended up with aching ears after the service. I have to confess that in spite of all the noise, I really had fun. I was hugging friends and cousins and aunties and uncles from yesteryears.
As is typical with such weddings, everybody had to show off their camera phone or digicam. I wonder how the official photographer managed to survive. He was freaked out by my gripped 5d Mark II and 85LII. I kinda felt bad seeing him stand there in shock instead of working. I don’t know why too many people believe it is the camera that makes the photos. It’s as lame as saying writing with an expensive pen makes you a great writer. I can’t deny some gears are cooler and more appropriate to use than others depending on the assignment but to be honest, it is never the gear. Please take this last advice if photography is just your hobby.
If you are a professional photographer, my advice will be different. Invest in the best gear you can afford and most importantly, master them. Of course, it is still true that if your imagination is blind, no camera on earth can make you a great photographer. You need to be creative and driven and passionate about photography but you also need to master your tools. You must master your gear so well that you actually operate them from your subconscious. Remember the only time you can justify acquiring new gear, is when you have fully mastered how to use your current one and have honestly found them limiting.
For a professional photographer, I think the least gesture of respect you can make for your clients, is to cover their assignment with the right cameras, lenses, lights and most importantly, idea. Always come back with great pictures. Never come back with excuses, no matter how great they sound. One camera body is not enough if you are a pro. Have a back up body. Have back up lenses etc. Don’t buy crap gear. Don’t make crap photos because both a bad and a good photograph will outlive you, go places you will never dream of and wherever they go, they take you along. If you underestimate the power of photography, you have no business calling yourself a photographer.
Finally, be tough on yourself but gentle with others. It is a classic mark of insecurity and low self esteem, if you are incapable of appreciating the potential in others and your own shortcomings. Photography is a journey not a destination. If you don’t know that, you’re done. I'm done.