Top 5 Things I Learned About Photography in 2012

I had a great 2012! With the new addition to my family I didn’t get to shoot as much as I might have liked, but I did get to work […]

Written By Rob Knight

On December 31, 2012

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Olympus E-P3 Infrared. Zuiko 75mm f1.8 lens

I had a great 2012! With the new addition to my family I didn’t get to shoot as much as I might have liked, but I did get to work on my baby photography quite a bit 🙂 Even though I didn’t get to shoot as much, I feel like I was able to make the most of the opportunities I had. In looking back on 2012 I realized that I spent more time on my photography than I did on my equipment. Even though I spent a lot of time getting to know some new gear, when I was in the field I was able to focus on the images I wanted to create. I feel like I learned some important lessons in 2012.

Here are the top five things I learned about photography this year:

1. There’s more to Image quality than camera quality.
Basically I mean that a really great image is not dependent on the latest camera/lens/software. A great image is great because of the content… subject, composition, light, etc. It’s important to understand your tools, but it’s equally important to understand what images YOU want to make.
2. You can’t be everywhere at once.
Learning to balance my photography and teaching with my new baby was a challenge in 2012. It’s easy for me to get frustrated when I see others writing and posting constantly and I just don’t have the time. I have to create time in my schedule to write and stay connected, even if it’s not as much time as I would like. I’m still working on finding the right balance.
3. I enjoy photographing as much as photographs, maybe more.
In the video “a Week in Paris with Jay Maisel” on Kelby Online Training Jay asks Scott Kelby if he likes photographs or photographing. I never thought about it before, but I like going out and shooting at least as much as I enjoy final product. The experience is the fun part for me, and creating a great image now and then is like a bonus.
4. I take as much pleasure in helping a student make a great photo as I do making the photo myself.
Sometimes a student or workshop attendee makes a great photograph as a result of something they learned from me. It’s a great feeling when you see the lightbulb come on and you know you helped make that person a better photographer. That’s at least as much fun for me as making a photo myself.
5. The simple things that many experienced photographers consider obvious are the tips that make the biggest difference to students.
It’s easy to assume that your students know the basics, but I think those are some of the most important things to go over. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “I never thought about that” or “I didn’t know my camera could DO that”. Just a brief reminder of the basic ideas of exposure, composition, etc can make a big difference to your students.

How about you? What did you learn in 2012?


  1. Chris Smith

    Great post. Great way to wrap up the year. This year I learned that it’s even more difficult to get out and shoot when the second kid comes! But, more importantly, I’ve found a way to put the time into my photo editing and blog writing. Once the kids go to bed I have the rest of the night. I make sure that I spend this time being productive. And I write my blog post for the next day. It means that I don’t get as much sleep as I would like, but that’s the price, right?

    I like everything you said. And the Jay Maisel in Paris was great. But I forgot what his answer was. I agree with yours.

  2. Rob Knight

    Thanks Chris,
    I have to do the same thing… Try to get my photo work done at the end of a long day when everyone else is sleeping. I definitely think it’s better to pay the price in lack of sleep rather than missing time I could be spending with my family.

    As for the video, Jay likes photographing and Scott likes photographs. If you like photographing you never go home disappointed 🙂

  3. Solson Scherman

    Simple and to the point! I had never thought about the photographing vs photograph idea…something to ponder in 2013. Cheers.


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