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Here’s Something Every Photographer Needs to Hear


SLR Lounge recently published this 8-minute video on 10 ways you can light and shoot the same scene. But it’s the short monologue at the end, starting at 6m38s, that has received quite a bit of attention in the online photo community. Pye Jirsa talks about how every photographer can help foster a culture of supporting one another.

If you can’t watch and listen to the video above, here’s a transcript of the monologue, shared here with Jirsa’s permission:

We as photographers can be a guarded and protected bunch when it comes to helping and educating each other, sharing knowledge and what we think are “trade secrets.” We think that someone else’s success takes away from that of our own, but here’s the thing: most of these tricks and techniques have been around much longer than you or I.

The way that we light, the way that we put something in front of a lens to create a foreground object, the way that we pose our subjects and direct — it’s all been done before.

That’s not to say that we aren’t each our own unique artist. In fact, Austin Kleon said it best when he said: “Good artists are a culmination of the art that they consume.”

As artists, we are each a unique culmination of our life experiences, our knowledge, and the art that we ourselves appreciate. The fact is, you or I could be shooting the exact same subject and scene, with the same equipment even, yet from our settings, to the way that we light the scene, to how we shoot it and how we post-produce it and direct, it’s all going to yield a completely different result.

The point: be a positive support to your peers and fellow photographers. Teach each other, share your techniques, and encourage those that just picked up a camera and be happy in your peers’ successes. Because, well, the rising tide ends up lifting all boats.