Last week I posted my Holiday equipment list. In that post I mentioned the Canon Rebel XSi as a nice camera to get used to introduce someone to photography. In my case, that someone is my wife, Pam. Let me tell you how I got to that point by using my "evil secret" plan. Maybe you can use this same strategy to get someone in your life interested in photography. When I re-started my photography bug this past June, Pam was very supportive. In our over 20 years of marriage she's always been surprisingly tolerant of my somewhat ADD/OCD approach to things. For that, I'm very thankful. I tend to immerse myself in several things at once, become slightly obsessed about them, and then move on to something else. But oftentimes I end up coming back to what I originally left and start digging in even deeper. Photography is one of those things for me, and this time (the 3rd) I've really hit upon something that just makes me really happy :-)
While Pam has been supportive of my on again, off again photography bug, she hasn't expressed much interest in it for herself. This time though, she has changed her tune. When I bought my T3i and started attending the local photography club meetings she would say "have fun, dear" or something along those lines. When I asked her if she'd be interested in attending the meetings with me she at first showed zero interest but over a few months seemed to be a little more interested.
I think the tide turned for her when we went out West this Fall (part of my evil plan). We took the T3iand the little S95(which is an excellent camera) with us. I used the T3i and Pam took some images with the S95. It has a nice full-auto mode so she was able to just "point and shoot" without worrying. But as she was doing this I noticed she began asking me questions about how I was trying to capture the images with the DSLR. Things like, "what does a different aperture do?" and "why are you trying different shutter times?", etc. When we got home and downloaded the images off the memory cards I noticed that Pam had taken some really nice shots. Not just snapshots, but decently composed (better than mine in some cases) images that had some impact to them. I showed her these and she was obviously very proud of herself (as was I). When the November photography club meeting came up she hedged a little when I asked her if she wanted to attend. The last meeting (December) finally got to her and she came along to see how the meeting was. It turns out that she really enjoyed meeting some of the other members and much to her surprise, there are a fair amount of women in the group. I think that made a big impact on her. After the meeting she said "Photography looks kind of fun. Maybe I can learn a little more about it and attend some of the club events". That's all I needed to hear to set me off on a mission.
So, as we sit here in mid-December, Santa will be bringing Pam a slightly early Christmas gift of a lightly-used Canon Rebel XSi. I got the camera off of eBay and it's in great shape. It has the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens on it, which is actually a decent piece of glass. With the camera Pam will have the equipment she needs to learn the basics of photography. If she likes photography and wants to become more serious about it we can always upgrade equipment down the road. If she doesn't really get into it, I can re-sell the camera with a very small (if any) loss. I'm obviously hoping she enjoys it and really begins to explore her creative side. Photography has really helped me with my creativity and I think it can do the same for her. Plus, if she likes it, I have a perfect reason to keep upgrading the equipment (another important part of my evil plan) :-)
We'll see how the next few months goes. I'm very hopeful that Pam will enjoy it and want to improve her skills. We have a couple of great photography groups we can shoot with and learn from so that should make it even more fun.
So, what's the lesson to be learned in all of this? Well, I think the main point is this:
Find something you enjoy doing and be sure to let others know about it.
I think this is a valid point for just about everything in our lives. Enthusiasm is contagious and if we truly enjoy something other people will notice and that might be enough to get them interested enough to try it for themselves. The second point is this:
Don't try to make people "like" the same things you do.
While it's important to be enthusiastic about things, it doesn't do any good to try and force someone to take an interest. If you are obviously enjoying something people will notice. But, if you are constantly "preaching" or trying to convince people that they will enjoy something or that your way is somehow "better" you are likely to turn them off to the idea completely.
I really enjoy photography and I don't see myself quitting it anytime soon. I'd love to be able to share that enjoyment with my wife, and it looks like I may be able to do that. But she has to enjoy photography on it's own, not just because I like it. If she does, the two of us will be able to spend quality time together taking photographs that we can share with our family and friends. And if she's not as much of a photography geek as me, she can still enjoy the photographs I take and the trips we'll go on.