Above: Image, Gina Milicia
I’ve been binging comedy shows. I’m addicted. It started with soft comedy like the Seinfeld series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, then I moved on to podcasts, Netflix specials and now I’m into biographies.
I love the way comedians think. How they can take a small detail and spin it into something interesting. Good comedians can turn a trip to the mall into a hilarious hour of anecdotes.
The masters of comedy make you notice the little things in life and think about stuff differently. I used to believe that being funny was something you were born with but the most successful comedians work hard to fine tune and hone their skills. There is an art to being funny, and the most successful comedians spend years and thousands of hours creating conversations and observations that look effortless.
Did you know that the best comedians in the world, the same ones that are paid MILLIONS to appear on Netflix specials or pack out auditoriums also perform for free in small comedy clubs around the world so they can refine and hone their skills?
The best comedians in the world regularly test out new material in front of crowds that don’t know who they are so they can fail. That’s right, they deliberately set out to push the limits, find the weak spots in their work so they can refine the story, find a better way to explain something or change the timing of an act.
The best comedians know the benefits of going out every night in front of a new audience. It teaches them how to read the room, deal with hecklers and have the confidence to tell a story in their unique voice.
The other thing the great and successful comedians do each day is they take notes and feedback. Many will record each performance and rewatch to see where they can improve their acts.
As photographers, we can learn a lot from comedians. This level of commitment to the craft is how you master photography.
Do the work
There is no substitute for the knowledge, expertise and confidence shooting for a minimum of 30 minutes each day will give you. If you are serious about getting better as a photographer, then make a commitment to do the work.
Shoot personal projects
The best comedians are continually writing new material and experimenting. As photographers, one of the best ways to keep work fresh and develop our style is to work on personal projects.
Push yourself to failure
Don’t be afraid to test your limitations. Try new styles and make mistakes. This is where the most valuable lessons are learned.
Take detailed notes
Buy a journal (old school) and take notes each time you do a shoot.
What lens did you use?
What did you say to the model?
Where did you place the lights?
Find a way of telling a story that is unique to you.
The world’s most successful comedians share a perspective on life that is unique to them.
Photograph the things that you love in a way that is unique to you.
Critique your work or ask for feedback
Look at your images and ask yourself how you can improve them. If this is something you don’t know then find a mentor who can help you.
I promise you that this behaviour will be a game changer!