Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The art of thick skin

What would you do if a complete stranger came up to you and said: ‘I was told there would be a photographer shooting this event {looks at you pointedly} but then I saw your camera.’

followed by

’I brought my camera and lenses if you want to use my stuff instead.’

It happened to me over the weekend. I was taken aback by it to say the least. Since I was caught off guard, I agreed to look at her equipment. She happily showed me her telephoto lens, that I quickly gave back to her, her external flash, that I declared I didn’t know how to use and wasn’t going to ‘practice on’ that night and her other zoom lens that I said I’d check out.

She continued to tell me that I needed to use my built in flash in the low lit room and proceeds to take a picture with her camera w/flash to prove her point. Showing me the LCD screen, saying ‘see? this is how your pictures need to look.’

I took a picture with my camera, explaining I changed the white balance, lowered the aperture and fixed my ISO and showed her my LCD and said, ‘this is what my pictures look like.’

She then informed me she doesn’t know anything about that, and shoots from auto the entire time, where I let her know I shoot in manual.

At that moment, she turned around back to her bag of equipment and insisted I use her camera body, a Canon 30D. I said I wasn’t familiar with 30D’s and was content with my own Rebel, but she persisted over and over again. I again stated our cameras were different and I knew mine, so I preferred to continue using mine, but she kept pushing saying they had ‘all the same features’ and showed them to me.

I politely declined for the last time. But it seemed like what may have started out as kindness to her, became a ‘my equipment is better than yours’ game…that she clearly won.

After taking 5 pictures with her lens, I quickly took it off and put my simple (to others) 50mm 1.8 lens back on and went back to work.

I thought I was in the clear after crossing the room, but was approached 20 minutes later by a man with a very fancy camera and external flash, who began questioning my photography abilities and choice..or lack of equipment.

I was starting to feel defeated at this point. I realize I have an older model Canon, and I realize I don’t have an external flash for low lit rooms or a fancy zoom lens that looks more professional than my small 50 I had to use, does, but to have people…strangers! pointing it out is a whole other thing.

He turned out to be a very sweet man, who ended up knowing half of what I know in terms of photography and who in the end, paid me a compliment, but it was a rough start.

What made it all okay, was after both encounters; approaching my friend, who asked me to shoot in the first place; and her saying she trusted my abilities. That’s all I needed to keep going.

There will always be someone who has better equipment than you, who will be better at something you think you’re good at doing, but someone will always have more and be better than them. Trust in what you can do. Don’t let someone make you think what you have isn’t enough to be good…to be great. It might turn out you know more with less.

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Wendy said...

Great life lesson in this post! I have an older model Canon Rebel too and I love it. Sometimes, less is more! :-)

Have a great week!

Natalie said...

I'm no photographer... but I thought photography had more to do with the artist behind the camera composing a shot than having the latest, high-tech equipment. I've seen your photography and love it, so I have no doubt that you got some great pictures that night =)

Alyssa said...

She may have won the "better equipment" challenge, but I guarantee that your photos are 100% better than hers. It's not the camera, but the photographer that has the skill and ability to take great shots. Don't let anyone beat you down. Your photos are beautiful!

The Heart Of A Woman said...

Your pictures are always wonderful!

Tatiana said...

How totally weird that total strangers would approach you like that. That's a bit rude. What were you taking pictures of? I'm glad that your friend stood up for you and trusted your abilities :-)

Jennifer Blair said...

I really hate it when people start the equipment comparison game. As soon as they find out you do photography, they ask what camera you have. The person behind the camera is way more important than the equipment. You can take good photos with anything if you know how. Good for you for sticking up for yourself!

And that's the end of my spiel.

Sincerely Sara Cate said...

Kudos to you for taking the high road and even making a friend in the sweet man. I'm confident your work will be amazing.

meghan said...

Oh my gosh Emily. That's terrible. You're so awesome for being able to continue working professionally after that. I think I would have shut down and not been able to do my job properly. Even when I have parent conferences where someone questions something that I do I feel defeated a bit, but to to be full on attacked like that would have made me shut down. I'm impressed that you stayed professional!

And for her to shoot in auto all the time and always use a flash just shows how much less experience she has. That's terrible. I'm so sorry, but I'm so glad that you were able to maintain composure. You've got skills. She'll see.

Emily w/Amazing Grapes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
carissa at lowercase letters said...

they did NOT. whoa.

i have the same camera and lens as you!!! i do get self conscious because it does look a lot smaller than the fancy ones. but you are so right... even real photographers have told me, you don't need the best camera to get the most amazing shots. what counts is knowing how to use the camera! and you DO!!!

Lisa @ honibun@blogspot said...

I love your photos and besides it is the talent behind the lens that matters most!!! I just bought a fancy Cannon with a bunch of gadgets and I don't have the first clue how to use it!!

So girl you SO got this!!!!!

Lindsay said...

To quote the lovely Stephanie Tanner: HOW RUDE!

I can't believe someone would be so pushy like that. Is it really any of her business what tpe of camera you use? Geez. Just reading this made me want to slap her!

LeAnna said...

Some people. For real? I get really annoyed by people who are like this about their formal photography education (ie: they spent bookus of money to learn what I taught myself FO FREE) and how they automatically assume you're not a "real" photographer because you didn't go to school. Whateva, I say. Whateva.

As for equipment, some people are just clueless. I wonder if people told Picasso and Rembrandt that they were using waayyyyyy too cheap of dirt and clay, and whatever other things they made their colors out of. Sheesh.

Aspiring Kennedy said...

yikes. that is super awkward. i probably would have done the same thing you did... in an attempt to not be rude back!

Aspiring Kennedy said...

yikes. that is super awkward. i probably would have done the same thing you did... in an attempt to not be rude back!

christine donee said...

whoa. I would have thrown her external flash in her face. just saying.

Mrs. Pancakes said...

i always thought you take great pictures!

Jenni@Story of My Life said...

WTF? My head just exploded. I would have slapped both of them and carried on.

No I wouldn't. But I wouldn't have been as nice as you! Especially not to that first lady! Mine your biz-naz, beyotch!

(sorry... this riled me all up...)


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