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I was intimidated attending a photography course by award winning photographer, Dave Brosha. Many of the participants were full-time photographers, I had only purchased my first “prosumer” camera three weeks before.
I decided to be courageous and participate fully in the two-day creativity boot camp. Not only did my photography skills improve, I learned quite a bit about communication.
This is what I learned about communication from a photography course:
Everyone’s voice is important. Although I did not have the same lighting experience as the seasoned photographers, I had an opinion that was also valid and different. For example, I have quite a bit of dance experience so I could communicate with the models/dancers in their own language. My voice was needed because I had ideas that no one else had.
Together we can “get the shot.” I chose to contribute to ideas instead of letting the more seasoned pros take over. I gave ideas on how the models show move, and I brought in props to add creativity. We produced amazing photos together because everyone got their say in the process of creation.
Go with your strengths. I am a natural facilitator, so without being aware, I ensured that everyone’s ideas were heard – not just the strongest voice or most experienced prevailed. I also made sure that everyone got a fair turn shooting the models and I watched body language to ensure team members felt like they were part of the discussion.
Great ideas come from everywhere. Everyone contributed to our end product – not just the team, but also the instructors and the models. Great ideas can, and do, come from everyone!
Show people you heard them. I acknowledged people’s ideas verbally or by trying them out. Even if we didn’t use someone’s concept, their creativity was still recognized in the process.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. I told the models what I wanted out of them, I directed my team members on holding reflectors & causing wind. Sometimes my idea wasn't understood, so I rephrased or modeled what I wanted done – and we got to where we wanted to get in a short period of time.
Create a safe environment. All of the instructors and the other participants were open to questions. There were no stupid questions, so I felt free to ask how to use a new modifier, or for help when I couldn’t get back to single-point focus.
Mistakes are okay. People threw out ideas that worked sometimes & other times were “learning experiences.” No one was judged. Without trying something new and making mistakes, I wouldn't develop new skills.
Ask for and accept feedback. My photography skills vastly improved during the workshop because I asked for opinions on my images. Some of my photos were a blurry on the first morning because my shutter speed wasn’t high enough – easy change. When we got into the section on intentional blur on the second day, I was already a pro!
Celebrate successes. Recognizing a great shot or creative idea, helped me stretch my creativity a little more. And made the process more enjoyable!
I coach leaders and teams to become more effective communicators. I also facilitate meetings so that all ideas are heard and creativity can be untapped.
Let’s talk! Contact me at Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com
Photograph by Valerie MacLeod
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