Teacher Tuesday- Ten reasons why being a teacher helps me in photography
Yesterday you learned more about me and what I’m passionate about in my blog post My “Day Job” – Living my Dream You read about my love for teaching and for photography and how I plan to keep working for both of these dreams.
A lot of the other photographers I know, started off as or still are teachers alongside of shooting weddings and family portraits. This got me thinking about the qualities that good teachers and photographers need to posses and I realized that the qualities teachers have can benefit them as photographers.
So here are the ten reasons why being a teacher has helped me in photography.
1) Teachers plan. Good teachers know that having a successful lesson requires a lot of planning and being prepared. We plan down to the minute and make sure to include time for off task behavior and even have back up plans in case something goes wrong. As a photographer this has helped me making sure I have rain plans, and a general idea of the workflow for the session. If it’s a family with little kids versus an engagement session, I plan out the general progression of the day so that I’m more confident when I get there.
2) We have to be flexible. We know that even with an incredible amount of planning and preparedness, sometimes things don’t go as planned. We have to be flexible if students need more time on a particular subject and we’re quick on our feet to make changes as necessary. This goes with sessions as well. Let’s say a younger child has a melt down or they want to run around and can’t sit still. Being flexible means adjusting posing ideas and working with each family differently. If getting a good shot means sitting far away from a distance or running around, well then I’m going to do it to get a good image.
3) We’re good with transitions. With only 45- 90 minute blocks we know how to manage our time well and keep things moving. We have to manage transitions well in order to maximize time without loosing focus. In sessions this is important so that kids don’t get bored or tired and instead feel like they are having fun in the process. I try to keep transitions during sessions short so we can all stay focused.
4) We strive to see the best in everyone. Teachers can find the strengths in everyone, it’s our job! We get to know our kids so we can use their strengths to help them overcome challenges. As a photographer I aim to take images that show off genuine character in each family member.
5) We are good managers. Teachers know how to manage lots of kids at a time. With our class sizes ranging from 22 to 30 (sometimes larger) we’re good and keeping the attention of a lot of kids at one time. We can give good directions, set expectations and keep everyone on task. This helps me as a photographer especially with a large family. Being able to keep everyone involved, focused and working together is so important. Sometimes I have to hold myself back from saying “If you can hear my voice, clap once”… (yoikes!)
6) We give good directions. This was already said in number five a little but is really important. Good teachers give good directions that are clear and set everyone up for success. As a photographer, making sure everyone knows what to do is really important. People feel more comfortable when you are confident and can clearly direct them. This is something that I honestly have to work on during sessions, being clear. But when a person knows exactly what to do in the image then they can relax and enjoy the session which ultimately shows up in the picture.
7) We can be goofy. This doesn’t apply to all teachers obviously but I have found that my students respond well to me when I’m myself which of course is a goof ball. Not to say we goof around in class but if I need to sing out directions to keep them interested or act out chemical bonding, I do it. In a session I’ll make jokes, use weird voices, anything to get the attention and genuine smiles that I like to see in images.
8) We’re creative. Again this doesn’t apply to all teachers but generally speaking we are all creative to a point. We have to take hard content and figure out a creative way to break it down so that everyone understands. This is kind of an obvious correlation but let’s say I get a session and there isn’t much going on for great backgrounds or the light is too harsh. I’ve had to think creatively to find different looks within the same session.
9) We can talk to kids. This may seem silly but some people just can’t communicate well with kids. Being a teacher means we have to be able to communicate with all different types of kids of all ages. Every family is different which makes each session different. Treating each person as an individual and making sure to communicate with them in the way they need helps them trust you and listen carefully.
10) We love working with kids and people. Teachers become teachers because they love young people and they love working with them. I love working with young people. I think the best part is getting to know them and learning from them. It’s so cool to work with people who have so much potential and are still have so much in front of them! I love photographing people and learning who is in front of the lens. If I can take a picture that captures who they are and shows off their genuine character, then I’ve done a good job.