Mono-Tasking In A Multi World
on December 25, 2022
Occasionally someone will suggest that you multi-task...that you do two or more things at the same time. It is a wonderful phrase that sits well in economics and business textbooks.
Apart from the pilot in a Tiger Moth who has his hands on the stick and throttle, and his feet on two rudder pedals, few people actually need to multitask. And fewer still will do it well, or to their profit. In the photographic business it can be a complete nuisance.
Hold your camera in your hands and imagine yourself multi-taking it. Change the aperture, shutter speed, focus, ISO, and a half dozen other controls and criteria each time before you take the next shot. See how productive you will be and how pleasurable the experience will seem. Then look at the files later and note how consistent and superb they are...
Or, set the camera beforehand to what you need - even if it is just the Automatic Everything button. Then go head and mono-task - just look through the thing and shoot. Users of compact cameras with single focal-length lenses will know what the simplicity feels like, and how easy it is to get good shots.
Okay, you add a zoom lens and you look and zoom, but as long as you are not trying to fly the space shuttle on the back of the camera every time, you stand likely to succeed and your images are going to be a lot better.
Try multi-tasking as a working shooter when you need to coordinate people, sets, lights, poses, groups, etc. Hell on earth for many, and anyone who has seen an event shoot spiral out of control knows that getting a team to do the various tasks - one per task - is a far better way. Even one extra helper can make all the difference to it. And at the end of the shoot, extra hands and feet to recover the equipment is worth any amount of gold.
Multitasking while pre-processing is something that can be programmed into the editor - if it takes a day to decide the criteria for importing files, formatting them, pre-processing, etc, spend that day - it will be paid back many times over. Likewise, figure out export protocols and decisions for different clients or classes of work and you'll bless yourself for your foresight.
Most of the things you do in life are better done as one task to which you give full attention, rather than something that gets only a portion of your regard. You can be certain that whatever you do on a sketchy basis will be judged by someone who will concentrate upon it, and guess who has the advantage...
Note Also that you have moral support from none other than Socrates. Plato reported his plans for a republic that specified one task for each citizen and demanded that they stick to it.