Photography is very hard. Harder than you might think.


Last week I saw this fantastic illustration of Tiger Woods’ golf swing. It was the feature image of an ESPN article called “Stroke of Madness” in ESPN magazine. It clearly shows all the things which go through his head, as he is about to swing the golf club:

  • Head steady

  • Wrist angle

  • Clubhead speed

  • Flex point

  • Lag

  • Wind speed and angle

  • Hip rotation

  • Spin rate

  • Eyes level

  • Spine angle

The list goes on… Across the image, there were between 50 – 60 things that a pro golfer has to consider simultaneously. Suddenly it hit me. This also happens in photography! When I’m shooting, there is an endless list of things I have to consider and think about, simultaneously. This, my fellow companions, is why photography is bloody hard. This is what they don’t teach you in school nor is it what most realise is happening to all the photographers, you see out there, with a camera in their hand.

  • Does the subject look comfortable?

  • Are they insecure?

  • Is this my most flattering lens?

  • Am I allowing myself to become distracted?

  • Are there too much background image distractions?

  • Is my shutter speed too fast or too slow?

  • Is my F-stop in the ideal range for focus?

  • Will my client like this image?

  • Am I smashing the art direction for this shoot?

  • Are the wrinkles too noticeable? Should I ask the client to clean their elbow?

  • How can I get everyone to smile naturally?

  • Are my jokes silly? Am I being a douchbag?

  • They are moving too much and slipping out of focus.

  • Is Adobe Lightroom working, or is it my computer? Do I need to restart the computer?

  • Should I move that prop, before someone trips on it?

  • Are the lighting conditions here adequate?

  • Chin up. No, look to the left. Actually, chin down. Eyes towards me.

  • Is it too hot in here?

  • Do I need to add more make up? Have I got the time?

  • Have I got all the necessary lenses and camera bodies with me?

  • Did I clear my memory cards?

  • Are the batteries in my flash guns fully charged?

  • Have I covered every angle?

  • Am I giving the subject enough space?

  • Am I getting in the way?

You get the idea… The list goes on and on… and on and on. While shooting on set, there is an infinite number of things you must consider. With all the craziness going on around me, I have to strive to remain focused and execute myself in a flawless fashion. What someone unfamiliar with the process and practices may see as simplistic – simply pointing and shooting a camera – takes years of practice and is extremely complex to master. For a professional, there is no “Auto mode” option... How about you? Does the above illustration resonate with your photography, or your art, or your profession / workplace? Or is there a type of work, a sport or an art form you’ve been tempted to write off as overly simplistic? What thoughts or questions am I missing? Please let me know below in the comments.

EDIT: Oh, and I just though I would include the following video, which PERFECTLY illustrates just how "easy" photography is. Enjoy!

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