At a recent presentation I did on Breaking the Rules of Photography people seem to remember that I summed everything up with this question. After a whole night of detailing a number of rules of photography and then going through questioning whether it was necessary to follow them I finished with ‘Does it matter?’
Not a bad night’s work to invite everyone to dismiss instantly everything you’ve spent weeks preparing.
Good work Glyn!
I then started thinking about whether this applies to other parts of photography, even going right back to my first night at the club, and quite often coming up with a no.
Hmmm….I’d better explain.
SCENE: Willfield Camera Club one Thursday night April or May 2012
A number of people sit round tables at a photography quiz. The quizmaster is a svelte suave individual (like Brad Pitt maybe) with the knowledge of someone really really clever (like Stephen Hawking maybe) and the wit of someone really really funny (like Rik Mayall maybe). We shall call him Andy (because that’s his name).
This is a camera club and there are new members in the house. Two of them are married, well actually a lot of them are married but these are married to each other. Later to be labelled as the club’s version of the Krankies due to their hilarity and entertainment value (I’m sure that was the reason why….) we shall call them Tristram and Gertude so no-one knows I’m talking about me and Claire.
ANDY: ‘Okay question 7, which of these is the best to use for keeping your camera steady; is it a tripod, breathing out when you take the shot, putting the camera on a wall, a gorillapod, a stack of cardboard or the floor?’
ANDY: ‘Okay the answer to question 7 is….whichever you have available at the time.’
Present day, back to me writing. So basically we were told that it doesn’t matter on our very first night at the club. And, although I’ve forgotten the alternatives given on that night and inserted my own, the gist is that you use whatever’s available to keep your camera steady.
The same principles can be seen on actually getting the shot you want. Does it matter if it was taken with a Nikon, a Canon, a cameraphone, a Pentax or even, gulp, a Sony (in-joke, only jesting Sony!!). Of course not! Get the shot: that’s the important thing.
Then when you get it home does it matter if you use Lightroom, Photoshop, Instagram, iphoto, Photomatix etc or even don’t process it all? No, it matters that you took the shot and you like it. It might only be a shot of a strange character wearing flip-flops but if that’s what floats your boat then get the shot first and worry about the odd geyser in the frame later. (You could always put him some sensible footwear on later using some photomanipulation software).
What matters is getting the shot whether it follows or breaks the rules, not what it was taken with or what you do with it after. Take it how you want with whatever you have available to take it with, because what DOES matter is getting the shot. And it probably does matter most of the time that it is in focus and it probably matters that you (at the very least) like the final shot and, if you’re a wedding photographer, it matters that you’re at the right wedding….
So, in conclusion, does it matter? Of course it doesn’t.
Yes, as conclusive as that.
Here are some links to the Rules of Photography……whether you follow them or break them on purpose is up to you!