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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I’m not a Photographer… or am I?

I’m surrounded by photographers every day. And it’s a privilege to listen to creative people that notice things slightly differently than I do. They consider images closely. And I never really have.

One of the biggest challenges of being a non-photographer amongst photographers is really the most obvious one of all: I just don’t know what people are talking about. I understand the basics such as camera, focus and framing. But if you ask me about ISO, depth of field, shutter speed, aperture or anything more complicated, I’d blink slowly and smile a non-committal smile in your direction. I wouldn’t know how to respond.

So, in order to get a better understanding of taking photos, a couple of other Senior Managers in Head Office (also non-photographers) and I have created a fierce competition among ourselves. We get a theme every weekend and post our best shot after the weekend to DCWs’s Instagram account (DCWarehouse) and see who gets the most likes.

Last week’s theme was Architecture. I lost and now I have to buy my competitors lunch. I always claim to be not very competitive, so in that spirit, here’s what I ‘won’ from my first weekend of being a photographer:

  • I took the time to walk around my neighbourhood and really look at it. And it’s gorgeous. It has a huge church with a steeple that can be seen from surrounding suburbs, quirky art-deco apartment blocks and old shop-fronts with 1940s character.
  • I used manual focus for the first time ever. Ever. It was fun and empowering to take control of whether the building would be in focus, or the tree.
  • I tried to frame my shots appropriately. I looked at the scene and what I could capture with my camera. Sometimes I even chose not to shoot a building because there was not a good angle to capture it.
  • Taking photos and sharing them is fun.
  • It’s really not intimidating to pull out a camera and take a photo.
  • The beauty in a photo is in the eye of the beholder (which I will continue to tell myself as I lose this competition). 
My plan from here is to ask the photographers that I work with for help. Any of our staff in-store, in our Contact Centre and most of our support staff at Head Office could help me improve. And next week I’ll have an even better entry, and I might just come in second!