I acquired my first phone with camera, I literally shot almost everything that I think is interesting. Back in 2007, we are talking about VGA quality because I cannot afford to buy something better. When I finally have enough money, I upgraded into Sony-Ericsson W890i, which has significantly better camera and it has Walkman functionality at that time, something that I need. Over time, I had my first iPhone back in Apr 2012, then it made a world of differences. I take higher quality images of my loved ones, especially my family and of course, my lady.
Fast forward, as mentioned in my previous post, I acquired my first DSLR in 2014, and then upgraded into Leica in 2015. When I finally had Leica in my hand, my photography remains the same. It goes the other way round actually at first, because I need to get used to Leica.
That fact led me to think seriously about myself and my photography skill – what went wrong? So, listed down, here are the things think went wrong.
- Wrong Mindset – more expensive gears will improve my skills
- Wrong Attention Focus – spent time to review gears instead of creating good photographs
- Wrong Inspiration – Does not learn from the best of the trade
Initially, I was one of the photographers who thought that if I buy more expensive gears, I will improve my photography skills. WRONG! Yes, your image quality is good, but that is because of the technicalities of the camera, not your image composition and the stories behind it. You can have a 50 megapixel camera, and yet your photo is not compelling. It has poor composition. Poor lighting and misplaced subjects. It is like someone who bought a Ferrari thinking he can instantly drive like Michael Schumacher, or someone who bought a Yamaha and immediately thought he can ride like the famous Valentino Rossi. Nope, it doesn’t work that way.
Wrong Attention Focus
Focus on someone else, your judging and criticising ability will improve. Focus on the the winner, your will always be behind the winner. Focus on the camera gears, you will end up buying more unnecessary camera gear. This is what we call “Gear Acquisition Syndrome” (GAS). In photography, there is no need for you to keep up with the Jones. If they buy Nikon, it is still affordable. What if they buy the latest Leica M10 or even buy APO-Summicron 50? Or bought Hasselblad X1D? Then you are done for (unless you have tons of money). The more you review these camera gear, you will have a strong urge to buy what you initially do not need. It happens to me, but it doesn’t have to happen to you.
You have the best car in the world, yet you do not know where to go or what number to beat in a single lap. You might have upgraded your MiniGP to the max, but are still happy when you do 1’20” at Miri track. That is quite slow man.
Same goes to photography – You might have the best camera, but you do not know who to aspire to be. You just continue to take snapshots but created no good photographs. I would say, don’t. You had your focus wrong, if you were to pursue a professional career in photography. This is not a problem if you take it as a hobby. if hobby, I have no issue. Do as you please and have fun.
What Should You Do if You Are Beginner?
If I were to give advise to my younger self, I would do these few things:
- Take formal photography class, or better still, google it out if you have budget constraint. For me, if there is any Leica masterclass, I will join. It is fun to meet those of the same passion like you do.
- Buy a good beginner’s camera. I am influenced by Eric Kim, so I will buy the legendary Ricoh GR II. It cost around RM2700 brand new. Then once I have enough money and when I believe I have the skills, I will upgrade into Leica as early as I can.
- Follow the “sifus” or photography gurus. For example, since I consider myself initially as street photography, I followed Eric Kim. Eric Kim is an inspiration for street photography. For other photography, I usually just check out the photography branch at Instagram of Flickr or Facebook. For wedding photography, just type it as keyword and you can see a lot of images popping out from your laptop window.
- Always do self-reflection to ensure you are on the right track. Constantly align your goal with what you are doing now. Join a photography community around you, or you can contact me.
Well, I think that is it for now. If you have any comments or feedback, just leave it down below.