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Tips For Photographers| One Thing I Wish I Knew When I Started Photography: Pye Jirsa

By SLR Lounge Official on May 29th 2016

A platitude it may be, but that hindsight is 20/20 is an everlasting truism. No matter the walk of life, vocation, or level of success, we all reflect on our lives and decisions, see our missteps, and likely ponder what we would do differently given the chance.  The mistakes, of course, aren’t made in vain, as they’re learned from and build resilience. They also provide us the opportunity to ‘plant a tree under whose shade we will never sit’ by sharing the experience and earned wisdom, for the benefit of others.

This is the basis of this new series, One Thing I Wish I Knew, where we will speak to some of our favorite photographers and pose one succinct question in the hopes you can learn from their journey as you walk you own path:

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started photography?

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We felt it would be appropriate to begin this series with our own Pye Jirsa, one of the founding partners of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge. You can follow Pye on Facebook here and Instagram here.

Pye’s Gear List

Here are a few of Pye’s favorite pieces, but you can see his complete gear list here: PYE’S WEDDING AND ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT AND SOFTWARE LIST :

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Image Credit: Casey Cosley

One Thing I Wish I Knew When I Started Photography: Pye Jirsa

People might think this is cliché, but honestly, this is the reason that I am so passionate today about education. Early on in my career, I was that  photographer who truly believed it was the gear that made the imagery. I was consumed with getting better gear rather than understanding how to use it.

When I saw an incredible photograph, I made the excuse that I lacked the proper gear to recreate such an image. With each upgrade would come a small improvement in quality, but overall my imagery didn’t really improve in the way I thought it would.

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I was always passionate about learning, but about a year into our professional careers, Justin, Chris and I [partners at Lin & Jirsa and founders of SLR Lounge], mutually agreed not to buy any new gear unless it was something we could prove added value to our business. What happened was that instead of looking to acquire new gear, I looked towards learning the ins-and-outs of every piece of gear that was in my bag.

When I say learn, I don’t just mean “understand” or well-read on a topic, I mean to gain applied knowledge. Applied knowledge is different from ‘knowledge’. Knowledge, is garnered by simply reading and understanding the concept of a topic. I read an entire manual on repairing automobile engines; I understood how the engine worked quite well, yet when I popped the hood on my car, I was absolutely lost.

[REWIND: THEN AND NOW | 19 PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS SHARE THEIR BEGINNINGS]

 

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Photography is very similar, you can understand how a flash works, but understanding how to create an incredible image while in a working environment are two completely different things. Creating incredible images in working environments requires applied knowledge, and it’s gained from understanding a concept and  with practice and repetition.

So that’s where I focused; first acquiring the education, and then setting up practice shoots to turn that knowledge into applied knowledge. With the same gear that I had always had, my imagery begin to jump by leaps and bounds.

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From that point on I understood that new gear could often simplify my life and make my job easier, but that was it.

Going through this process created a passion and desire within me to share and educate others, hence the creation of SLR Lounge and my passion towards educating.

Articles by SLR Lounge Official are created by multiple authors. They represent official announcements by SLR Lounge.

22 Comments

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  2. Emily Jackion

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  3. DiegoMolina Photo

    Amazing post. Fun to read for anyone seeking a quality photography blog. Thank you! Tucson Wedding Photography

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    I have all records of this we ever keep safe free psn codes generator and provide to those who need more for their playstation or xbox360 gamming programs.

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  6. Michael Anderson Photography

    Great article about photography and its really a visual treat for readers.Thank you so much for nice post and i really like the way you wrote the article. Minneapolis Top wedding photographers

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  7. Laura Tenney

    I’m with you on this! Better gear makes your job easier, but shouldn’t do your job for you. I know a lot of pros that shoot in program with their top of the line bodies, but I would rather be able to shoot in manual and create what I want with my less expensive bodies.

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  8. Jerry Ranch

    I wish I knew more about how the art world works back in 1967 when I started this journey ! And I wish I hadn’t siloed myself so much in photography – art is art and even today, photographers in general remain in that photography silo. Its about art, not the medium, for me.

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  9. Rafael Orczy

    thanks Pye, good article!

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  10. Karen Borter

    Well said … I am kind of in that spot right now. I am eeking out the last bit of knowledge and use from my Rebel T5 and will be upgrading my body later this year (when I can afford it). Until then I am absorbing and putting to practice as much as I can with the gear that I have resolved to not buy another piece of glass until the new body is in hand.

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  11. Vince Arredondo

    Awesome post! Thanks!

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  13. William Irwin

    One thing I learned early on was to stop comparing myself with other photographers.

    I went to Rochester Institute of Technology and the competition there is very fierce. One thing I learned in my first quarter there was to stop comparing myself to other photographers. We are all there to learn and some are better at certain skills and weaker in others, you are better in their weak areas but weak where they are strong. Eventually it all evens out.

    You have to focus on your vision of what you want to do in life as a photographer and build from that. Don’t be afraid of other photographers. They can be your greatest source of learning if you are in the right kind of environment.

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  14. Ralph Hightower

    When I bought my first SLR camera, I had an open mind; which is a good thing, I think. I bought many books (there was no Internet back then) about photography. I researched my first film SLR camera like I researched my first DSLR.
    Back in 1980, the Canon A-1 was state of the art with aperture priority, shutter priority, and program mode, along with manual and stopped down metering.
    I still shoot film with that 36 year-old camera. I added a few lenses, a handle mount flash, motor drive. In July 2013, I bought a used Canon New F-1 with AE Finder FN, AE Motor Drive, FN, and spot and partial metering screens.
    December 2013, I added a 5D Mk III to my stable.

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  15. Ravi Teja

    Thankyou Pye :)

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  16. Because KissesMatter

    Wow! amazing blogpost..amazing colors.

    Thanks
    BecauseKissesMatter – Baltimore top wedding photographers

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  17. Behailu Gebremicael

    Waw thanks Pye

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  18. Paul Wynn

    Thanks Pye for the words of wisdom, totally with you. Of course the right equipment can help to expand your options, but there is no substitue to investing in yourself and building a solid foundation that fuels creativity.

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  19. Lauchlan Toal

    Great advice, I’m looking forward to more in this series.

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  20. Andy & Amii Kauth

    Great insights (and advice)!

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  21. Steaphany Waelder

    My introduction to photography was as a child when I was given a Kodak Instamatic 100, later in my teens, a neighbor gave me a cheap fixed lens 35mm SLR and an Yashica Mat EM.

    The book I had at that time to learn from was a US Navy training manual.

    The experience was perfect to prevent an addiction to new tech bell & whistle factor. I knew about new gear, but I never saw it yielding anything greater than what I could achieve with what I had.

    When digital photography emerged, and having gained significant knowledge of electronic engineering, I new that a Bayer masked imager with a soft focus anti-aliasing filter was not a technological direction that I wanted to use. So, I waited and eventually took the plunge with a Sigma SD14 due it it’s layered, just like film, Foveon imager.

    As ever greater technically advanced gear came out, my step up beyond the SD14 was to take a step backwards to Sigma’s SA9, similar smarts as the SD14, but used 35mm film. I then soon realized that the brain of the SA9 was taking too much control away from me. I did not care for talking to the computer and the computer making the camera operate. My next step was to go with a brain-less camera. My Yashica medium format had me talk that route, I briefly considered a Yashica, but found that a Mamiya RB was in the same ebay price range. I was able to find and get a near mint condition Mamiya RB67 Pro SD with a Mamiya C 150mm f/4.0 lens for under $300.

    I’ll admit it, I’m cheap. ;)

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