Stuck in a Paradigm

Stuck in a Paradigm

So many photographers are stuck in a paradigm.  (Paradigm – a typical example or pattern of something.)  Today I address those paradigms.

Often paradigms keep us in a neat little box.  People don’t like change, yet they often complain about issues resulting from their paradigm.

Paradigm 1

– A failure to truly understand composition.

It wasn’t until I started taking a drawing class that I realized how little (as a photographer) I really knew about composition.  For example, photographers constantly talk about the Rule of Thirds.  On the other hand, they never talk about the Rule of Quarters! (click here for a great article on the subject)  Yet, it is equally valid as the Rule of Thirds, as well as center composition and diagonal composition.

Yet, it all really comes down to this puppy…  The Artist’s Armature

Armature (apologies – the outer box doesn’t show up)


I’ve overlaid this armature on various works of art.  As I have, it has shown me things I wouldn’t have realized before.

You know if you’re stuck in this paradigm if you fail to recognize the Rule of Quarters and say, “The subject should be moved a bit so they are on the 1/3rd line.”

Paradigm 2

– Being a sheeple.

A sheeple is a photographer who is stuck in the paradigm that you have to use an Apple computer, Adobe Photoshop and either a high-end Canon or Nikon camera.

While Apple only has 3% of the market share in the computer world, it appears that most of that 3% are photographers.  It is really hard to pinpoint Adobe’s market share, but let’s say it is quite high.  Finally, Canon has about 1/3rd the market and Nikon a little under 1/4th of the market.

You know if you’re stuck in this paradigm if you think someone isn’t meeting their potential if the are not using Apple, Adobe and Canon or Nikon.


Paradigm 3

– You’re 100% self-taught

These are those tens of thousands of people with high-end equipment and when asked, “How did you learn photography?”

They respond, “Oh, I’m self-taught.  I never took a class.”

First, self-taught is hogwash.  Even if you read a camera manual, someone else was teaching you how to use your camera.  If you’ve studied another photographers work, you’re not self-taught either.  Reading a book isn’t self-teaching; the author is teaching you.

The problem with this attitude is you may not be continuing in your education.  As soon as you stop taking classes, reading books, and practicing what you learn, your work will grow stale.

You know you’re stuck here if you claim you are 100% self-taught.


There you have it.  Three paradigms that can hold you back.