Monday, September 10, 2012

Insta-Hip

by Nick Nacca

Not long after Kodak filed for bankruptcy, I received a package from a friend. I was blown away to find it contained an Instamatic 304 outfit including three extra flashcubes. Imagine, four flash pictures without changing bulbs!!! I don't normally collect old gear, but our family had one of these when I was a kid and I loved it. Check out the super hip commercial.....man. Even though Kodak invented the digital camera, they didn't have the vision of where the technology was going until it was too late.

Nick Nacca is a San Diego-based pro photographer I have worked with for many years and it's always fun. You can see his work at www.naccaphoto.com. I think this commercial - and many like it - are good resources for stylists to learn what the times and fashions were really like. I remember taking an Instamatic to Europe in 1969!

Monday, September 3, 2012

What Digital Camera Will Make Me a Better Photographer?

by Gregory Case


I remember one summer evening when I was young, my Mom and Dad took me to a shoe store, and I bought a pair of new and popular Keds sneakers. After lacing them up, I felt these shoes would make me run faster. I remember I wore them out of the store and ran up and down the shopping center. I told my Mom, “Mom these shoes make me run faster!” (It probably wasn’t the shoes that night, but my added effort–and my belief–that made it seem so.) My mom, a wise woman, just smiled.

I often think of my Mom’s reaction when I am repeatedly asked in digital photography classes which camera they should buy to improve their photography. Like many of my students, when I started photography (this month makes my 11th year) I badgered many people with the same question. I needed a better camera to be a better photographer.

I once had an extended conversation with a teacher associated with a prestigious art/photography school; I tried several ways asking which camera she thought was best, and she repeatedly avoided the question. Finally overwhelmed, she said, “You are missing the point—it is only a tool; as your photography experience improves, you will grow frustrated with your current tool, as it will no longer serve its intended purpose. But until you improve your photography skills buying a new camera won’t make you a better photographer.” She looked at me, a very new, excited, and a very amateur photographer, and said, “Keep your current camera and become a better photographer first.”

Since, I’ve become a better photographer and owned many cameras, but I have continued to heed her advice. I learned to improve my craft and work my cameras until I outgrew them. But that is hard to do; it’s a lot easier to believe that the camera is holding you back, not the camera operator. Trust me, I know; I secretly still like to believe my Keds really did make me run faster.

Gregory Case is a professional photographer who served as workshop photographer for a weekend workshop I held several years ago. He is the author of the blog Traveling Behind the Seams. Greg was also the inspiration behind the original Photo Styling Workshops website!