You CAN teach an old dog new tricks

At the start of this year I have been thinking about doing something different. Something new. Last year I read a lot of Joe McNally, a great blog and I can highly recommend adding it to your list, just for the variety and the history of the stuff he posts. But that’s a different post altogether. However, to get back to the point, he once said “do something every day that scares the hell out of you”

So in fine Joe style, when the opportunity came up to attend a workshop locally on Hair & Beauty photography I dutifully hit the ‘sign me up’ button. To be honest, I didn’t do much research, I just hit it and said ‘I’m bound to learn something’

So you can imagine my delight when I get the details and find out it is hosted by Jim Crone of Jim Crone Photography, a man who definitely knows his stuff. OK, that was a good day. Come last Sunday morning it was definitely in the ‘Scaring the hell out of me category’. Like, what do I know about Hair & Beauty photography? Anyone who has met me lately knows I have little experience these days with hair, and never really had any personal experience with beauty!

photo copyAnyways, I kiss the kids goodbye and wave to my poor long suffering wife and head off to Catchlight Studios for my day of instruction. Definite nerves now, I’m off to join ‘real photographers’, one who  have honed their craft, who actually know what they are doing! What the heck am I doing here?

Thankfully everyone else looked just as panicked as I did. I must admit as well, by the time lunch came we all were wondering why we were worrying about it anyway. It was a brilliant day all round. Jim was extremely patient with us novices, very informative (a couple of the tips and tricks he divulged were worth the session fee alone. However, if you think I’m passing these on, you can go and join his next session yourself and learn them for yourself.) It was refreshing to see a photographer freely sharing his craft and his experience without reservation. These days everyone seems to be wary of sharing anything for fear they will lose the business. Not so Jim, but I reckon he’s so well established these days he has nothing to worry about.

photo  photo copy 2

Jim wanted it to be a very organic day for us, so nothing was pre prepared. Each time our model Jessica was ready, he’d look at her, decide what way we were going to do each shoot and we would set it up from scratch. No question was too daft or too much trouble. Time to sit and talk about different aspects of each shoot and of the business in general. Then it was time to get the cameras out. Obviously, there wasn’t much time to change it around, so we all pretty much shot the same thing, but for me, to get a chance to see the setups, to have a go at directing the model, to watch others do it as well, was far more informative than you can imagine. Jim Crone Workshop-7Now, I can hear you say ‘Sure you can watch videos like this on Youtube or Vimeo. There are dozens of them!’ Well, my friend, I have watched dozens of them, probably more than would cover the 8 hours of the session on Sunday if you added them up. They are worth nothing compared to the day I spent in Belfast. You can watch all the free videos you like, but nothing compares to getting your hands on the actual equipment and taking the actual shot and seeing the actual photograph in your hand!

When I left at the end of the day, I had a head full of ideas, a notebook full of annotations, diagrams and sketches and a camera full of test shots to play with and add to the old portfolio. A thoroughly enjoyable day spent with like minded photographers, eager to learn.

Jim Crone Workshop-3I also have to say, a great day made so much easier by the professionalism of Jim, our model Jessica Edlin and out make up artist Uana Tovar. More about all of them in a later post.

But as I was leaving, I did manage to finally get it. Why do something every day that scares the hell out of you? Because once you’ve done it, you usually find it was nothing to be afraid of in the first place and if you don’t try something new, how will you ever grow?

I wonder what will scare me tomorrow? Or you for that matter.




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