It is always fun to do photography with someone else. This past week I have been talking to a friend who would really like his wife to get involved with photography, and I’ve told him how much enjoyment I get from this exciting medium of photography would be missing if my wife, Linda, were not also a photographer.
I have written about this in the past, but I am going to bring back a previous article for those readers that might have missed the original and would like their spouse to take up photography.
When we first got together 40 years ago Linda didn’t do photography, but that quickly changed.
I suppose she didn’t have any other option. Then and in all the years she has known me I have been I am either doing, teaching, talking or writing about photography.
My advice to any photographer that is actually interested in getting their spouse involved is as follows.
Match the equipment. I mean that with regard to cameras, both DSLRs should operate the same way. The models can be a year or so apart, but should be the same brand and the controls should operate similarly and if two of the latest models are affordable, so much the better.
Don’t be cheap with lenses or cameras for your spouse. If it isn’t good enough for you, it isn’t good enough for the most important person in your life. Just as you would select a lens for the subject and the way you like to shoot, your photo partner should select lenses for his or her preferences.
I know your mother told you to share, but my recommendation is don’t share. That just leaves someone behind. If you both like long telephoto lenses, get two.
I can remember the exact moment I thought about the concept of equality. I was in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming waiting for Old Faithful Geyser to erupt. While I waited I noticed a man and woman with their tripods setting up closer than me. I was obvious they were both serious about getting good photos of the geyser, but I could see that his was larger and feature packed, while hers was just a tiny, toy-like, point-and-shoot camera.
In my mind, it didn’t matter who was the better photographer or had the better eye. That point-and-shoot reduced her chances, and I wondered why she would even try, or how long she would keep it up when her equipment kept her behind.
I had a friend who tried getting his wife interested in photography. He bought her a cheap, entry-level camera and while he would make 16×20 prints of his images, hers were rarely over 8×10. She lost interest.
Shop for accessories together. Each photographer has his or her own preferences and should make equipment choices for the subjects they like to shoot.
Education is always a good idea. Attend a photography class or workshop. Search for them online or check local camera shops. Take turns going to photography classes or better yet take part in the same workshop.
One of our most memorable vacations was when we both attended a weeklong wilderness photography workshop on Mt. Rainier.
In my opinion we may have gotten more out of that class than the other participants because we were able to share information and experiences during and after.
Gently critique each other’s photography. Don’t just store pictures away on the computer. Sit in front to the computer display together and decide which photographs work and which that don’t, and then delete all the failures. We make large prints and calendars of our pictures.
One photographer in the family is cool, but two photographers, in my opinion, are much better. If you want your partner to have the same excitement about photography as you do, don’t be stingy with the compliments. And on that occasion when your spouse makes a better picture of the waterfall or the running deer than you, be sure to tell them.
Oh, and I never have the worry or guilt about getting new equipment.