I love photography newbies. To a newbie (beginner), there are no rules. Only opportunities and excitement.

I. I love beginners

In my experience, teaching beginner workshops are the best. There is so much excitement, enthusiasm, and willingness to experiment, try something new, and learn.

Experts tend to get stuck in their ways. Their minds are calcified. They are like vinyl records, stuck in their grooves.

II. Forever learning

I want to be a photography newbie for the rest of my life. Everyday, I want to roam the streets with excitement, like a photography virgin — seeing the streets with my eyes for the first time.

III. Why learn?

When we stop learning, we start dying.

I love to always learn new photography techniques, tools, equipment, cameras, lenses, phones, and ideas. To learn from teenagers and the youth are best. I love to ask them about Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or other hot social media apps. To me, they haven’t become wage slaves yet, and not corrupted by the “system”. They are more willing to experiment, take risks, and do cool shit.

Unfortunately most people over the age of 30 start dying creatively. They get too rich with money. They think they can innovate with photography with buying more expensive tools.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset / Mexico City

The truth is real innovation happens from poor photographers; broke college kids.

When you’re broke and can’t afford a full frame digital camera, you shoot film. Because it is cheaper. And you shoot more with your phone, and discover new ways to process and share your photos.

IV. How to be more creative in your photography

In Zen, they call this “beginner’s mind”. Beginners have opportunities and excitement. Experts have closed minds.

So perhaps in photography, we should call this “newbie mind”.

How do we stay newbies in photography? Some ideas:

  1. Don’t spend money: if you’re a newbie, and perhaps broke, you cannot afford to just buy your problems away. You need to innovate with the limited tools and equipment you already have. So rather than buying a new digital camera to be more creative, see how you can make better photos on your crappy camera phone. Can you make good photos on a shitty camera?
  2. Subtract options: “Creative constraints” are good for our creativity. For example, only shoot with one camera or one lens. Or one focal length. Or only color or black and white. Don’t shoot RAW, only shoot jpeg.
  3. Shoot like a kid: put your camera in “P” program mode, or just shoot with your phone. Shoot without restraints, and just have fun. Don’t take your photography too seriously.

Have fun,
Eric

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