Tricks or Craftsmanship?
Many years ago, I made a conscious effort to stop using the word “Tricks” when talking about photography. While I slip into using that old, comfortable and VERY misleading word every now and then, someone said to me lately that I should explain why I don’t like the work Trick when talking photography. We all see these advertisements that say “Tips and Tricks” which infer a quick shortcut to something better. But used as a noun (Warning, warning, Moose talking English here) trick means, “a cunning or skillful act or scheme intended to deceive or outwit someone.” And use Trick as a verb it means, “deceive or outwit (someone) by being cunning or skillful.” The common word in both definitions is, deceive. Just who are we trying to deceive with our trick in our photography, ourselves, the viewer of our photograph? What I’m suggesting is we focus on other words in that definition, skillful.
Success in photography is a long haul venture. There are plenty of shortcuts or “tricks” but the problem with the majority of them as they don’t build your skill base. Rather, they weaken them so when you do have that big challenge, you’re not up for it. And when that happens, frustration at the very least sets in. The old saying, no pain, no gain, I always thought was meant for photographers. So when you read those catchy, shortcuts, always ask yourself if your photography needs more tricks of craftsmanship.