Commit. You Must Commit

A few weeks ago I handed every single one of my photojournalism students a camera kit. It’s theirs to use through the semester, to complete assignments, to learn on. The catch, of course, is that they have to use it. If they don’t, there’s no real point in taking these classes.

So I tell them I expect it to be on their shoulder every hour of every day from now through early December. If I see it with them, I’ll smile. If I see them without it, there’s a good chance I’ll have a (apparent) heart attack right in front of them. Then ask if they got the picture.

Carrying the camera has to become part of their daily routine. Once they’ve done that, then the shooting has to become a ritual – something they feel they must do. The students who email me after the semester ends and ask about dealing with camera withdrawal? Those are the ones who got it.

Scott Bourne writes over at Going Pro about the same sort of idea – it’s not enough to have an idea, you have to execute it. For my kids, it’s not enough to be in the class absorbing information, it’s not enough to have a camera or even have the camera with you. You have to be ready, you have to practice.

Read the story he tells about Nick Pratto – then ask if you’ll be ready when your portfolio or Pulitzer moment happens in front of you.

Mark E. Johnson

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