Can Someone Talk You Into Being A Good Shot?

on July 20, 2021

Specifically, a shot with a camera. We'll leave the firing range instructors out of this one.

Can you learn photography by attending a lecture on the subject? Is your time sitting in the audience likely to result in your images and fortunes improving? Like most things in life, the answers are yes, no, and maybe.

People who attend photography schools - full time institutions designed to provide trade training for the various photographic industries - do have to be good at listening to their lecturers. They have to read, study, listen, reflect, and experiment. By and large they do and the results of their student efforts are often very good indeed. They have a vested interest in learning and doing.

Further away from the institutions, the clubs and societies also provide lectures and talks that present specialised subjects to the enthusiasts. The fact that the attendees are keen makes the job of the lecturer hard but rewarding. They need to present a show that is worthwhile seeing and listening to. Volunteer audiences may start polite but are not bound to continue so by law...

The audiences at trade presentations can also learn a good deal but they need to remember that there is commerce involved in most events. The people putting them on are selling things, and the audience sees a show that attempts to do just that. If they want to buy, all well and good. In any case they need to keep their ears open for the firm information...not just information from the firms.

And the last form of lecture? The person who knows a subject and holds forth to whoever can be stopped in the street. This may not be socratic as most of the talking is done by the lecturer, but at least it doesn't have to be diogenesian...the speaker doesn't really care whether they have found an honest man or woman, as long as they have found someone who will listen. They often pursue their audiences at a running pace.

Have I told you about my new lens...?

In any case, you need not merely sit and listen - in most cases you can ask questions. Just make sure that the question you ask - simple or complex - is really a question for which you wish an answer - not just a chance to show off to the rest of the crowd. The lecturers can tell a genuine enquiry in a heartbeat and will do all they can to provide a good answer. The other is just theatre and tedious stuff at that.