I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, this thing we call a “photographic community”. While Knoxville may be the third largest city in the state, it’s really one of those “large small towns”. Most photographers (and there are a LOT of us) here know each other, or knows someone who knows someone else. It may only be on Facebook, but most of us are connected in some way. When we work together to support each other and the craft, that is a powerful community. And while it used to be that photographers did not want to share their “trade secrets” or knowledge with other photographers for fear of training their competition, I really don’t see much of that anymore from my vantage point in the industry, which is refreshing.
That brings me to the point of this post. A couple of weeks ago, the national AYSO soccer tournaments were in Knoxville and we had several people come into f/32 Photo to rent equipment for shooting the games. One day, we had two Dads with cameras who had brought their kids all the way from Utah and needed help in selecting and renting equipment that would allow them to accomplish what they wanted within their knowledge base and budget. So, as we talked about what bodies they would be shooting with, their overall photographic knowledge, and what they wanted to be able to capture in the time they were here, I was doing my best to draw on all of the sports photography tips that I have learned to help them make the best decision. Let me qualify that these were two incredibly honest and humble Dads who freely admitted that they had nice cameras but mostly shot on scene modes because they didn’t understand the manual creative modes. Hey, we all had to start somewhere. It’s much easier to work from the place of where someone actually is in terms of skill level and not where they think they are. So, I’m explaining how to shoot in Shutter priority (because I didn’t think I should throw metering and Manual mode at them in the beginning) and why it would be beneficial to them for what they were shooting. Now, I’m not a sports photographer, but I have had the privilege and opportunity to work with a great sports photographer in our area, Hobe Brunson, and he had taught me a thing or two that have really helped me. So, I’m trying to recall and regurgitate the things that Hobe has taught me when in he walks through the door. I asked him if he was in a hurry and if not, would he mind giving these two gentlemen some pointers. He graciously agreed and began discussing the best lens options for them, how to set their cameras, and how to shoot to get the best results. They took lenses outside and practiced with them, Hobe set up their cameras for them, and we even had to look a few things up since they had camera bodies that neither of us shoot regularly. At the end of the discussion, I even heard Hobe give them his cell number in case they had any trouble once they got to the games and couldn’t figure something out. He said that he didn’t know if he would be able to help them over the phone, but he would try. These are two people he had never met, would probably never see again, and gained nothing from how well their images turned out or not. Totally altruistic. It did my heart good to see a photographer that I respect and admire passing it on in such a way.
A few days later, Hobe came in the store and told me that those two guys had sent him an email thanking him for all of his help. They also said that he made it look much easier than it actually was:) Hopefully, they captured some amazing memories for their kids though. That was their goal and what it was all about. I’m thankful that Hobe was there at the right time to help make that happen!