This is a guest post by Canadian photographers, Lauren & Rob Lim, whose spirited wedding, portrait and travel photography is the talk of the town.
At the moment in the wedding photography industry there is a bit of a backlash against educators. Whether deserved or not is up for debate, but it certainly has resulted in a lot of discussion about those who make money from teaching.
As we can be considered educators ourselves (have been quite happily teaching other photographers for over 2 years), and are now moving towards doing it more, we thought we’d give a bit of insight into why we teach.
To understand where we’re coming from, I’ll give you a bit of background on us. We weren’t the photographers who grew up with a camera in hand. Our interest in photography didn’t come until we were 19 and 21, during a requisite backpacking trip through Europe. As I’m sure has happened with all photographers out there, we instantly developed a very strong passion for creating photos. But, we knew absolutely nothing about the art. Nothing at all. Being rather young, we didn’t see that as any sort of hindrance, and began the process of teaching ourselves this craft so that we could become professional photographers.
That naivety allowed us to pursue our goals without any thought to whether it was even possible. And, thankfully, we simply made it possible. But it didn’t happen without an immense amount of time spent learning, reading, sifting through dozens of articles, and making a ton of mistakes along the way.
What we found, after years of self-teaching, was that the number of high quality and affordable resources out there for photographers was a lot smaller than we would have imagined. Sure, there are countless forums, blogs, and articles that you can find for free. But many of them offer differing opinions and ideas (though all too often they don’t see them as opinions, but rather as fact! That makes it even more difficult for a new photographer to understand what to do!). They also take a lot of time to go through, compile information, and try to process it in a way that works for the individual. It’s not easy or fun, and often it’s just downright overwhelming! I fear that a lot of people likely give up, simply because the task of finding and digesting high quality information is just too difficult.
Furthermore, many resources are currently being offered for very high price tags. Often upwards of hundreds of dollars (thousands if we’re talking about workshops). While there’s no way for us to decide whether those are worth it, we do know that they are far outside the reach of many photographers. Photographers on average aren’t rich people. They often have budgets just like anyone else, and many are left unable to purchase the tutorial they’d like, or going into credit card debt to attend the workshop they think will solve their problems. We were deeply unhappy with that approach. We strongly believe that teaching should be to help others, not yourself. With that in mind, we made a commitment to offer our education at prices that anyone could afford, including students.
Back to how we became educators! The more we learned, the more we found ourselves trying to help other photographers. We’d have colleagues over to our home to spend some time teaching them a new program or technique. And, time and time again, we’d find ourselves teaching the same material to each person. We were happy to be helping out that individual, but knew that there had to be a more efficient method.
The next logical step was, of course, to figure out how to get that information into the hands of the most people possible! So we created Photography Concentrate, a website dedicated to high quality, affordable information. We initially thought about writing e-books, but as soon as we began to plan for our first tutorial, all about RAW processing, we realized that books aren’t always the best way to learn for most photographers. We’re visual people by nature, so learning likely happens best in a visual manner! Thus began our foray into video tutorials. We’ve just completed our first one, and are hard at work at the next. We’re so excited about the possibility of helping photographers all around the world to learn to take control over the programs we rely so heavily on.
Which brings me to the final thought: Why We Teach
It’s pretty simple, and we can boil it down to one idea: we teach to help photographers acquire the skills needed to fully realize their artistic potential.
All the people we teach have their own incredible creative talent. We don’t need to teach them that. We simply want to help them unlock it. We believe that having a strong foundation of technical knowledge is the first step on that path, so that’s what we intend to share!
With RAW Processing Concentrate, our tutorial on editing in Lightroom, we’re hoping to help photographers improve the final look of their images. Very often we see an incredible shot, with great composition and vision behind it, but the processing falls short, and the image fails to reach it’s full potential. Processing is just one step in the creation of a great photograph, but it’s a hugely important one. Many photographers currently rely on pre-made actions and presets to process their images. These will certainly make you faster, but we don’t believe they will make you better.
Life as an artist is about growth and exploration, and one needs knowledge to achieve that.
If you’d like more information about our tutorial and teaching adventures check out Photography Concentrate.