That awful moment: My wife (or partner) is better than me...

Tinky

EOS 7D MK II
I've spent years reading books, watching tutorials, walking round galleries, trying the latest softwares, gadgets, gizmos, expensive lenses etc...

I lend my wife my very old 10D, a 430EX flashgun, talk to her a tiny bit about focus lock, exposure lock, and using AE shift to balance E-TTL flash with ambient..

She comes back with technically competent exposures. But she does more than that. She comes back with images of subjects engaging with and interacting with the person behind the camera. Not on command. Naturally.

She's came back with portraits, from her very first shoot, that I would be over-joyed with, anybody can work a camera, it's an unteachable gift to make a connection with people.

Hands up!. She's miles better than me.

Has this realisation crept upon any other forum users?
 

Vivid Color

EOS 7D MK II
Dec 7, 2012
436
0
I would like to respectfully reframe the issue and question one of your assumptions, that it is an unteachable gift to make a connection with people. While it is a gift to have the ability come to one more naturally, I believe that if you really want to, you can learn skills, techniques, mannerisms, that will enable you to make more of a connection with people. Maybe you'll never be able to make connections in the same way or to the same degree that your wife does, but maybe you'll make better connections than currently. And I don't mean for this to be in any manipulative way, but that you genuinely want to make better connections with people. How can one do this? Well for starters, turn your trained eye toward your wife and watch carefully how she interacts with people. And ask her, what she thinks she does differently from you. Do the same thing with your male buddies. This doesn't mean that your current style is wrong, it may be very effective in certain situations, and you may have certain types interaction skills that your wife lacks or is weaker on. The so-called softer skills can be learned so just think of this as a broadening of the set of your softer skills. By the way, the fact that you recognize that this is what differentiates you from your wife means that you can learn additional softer skills, if you want to.
 

dcm

Good or bad - it's not the gear.
Apr 18, 2013
753
84
Know it all too well.

My daughter gets great portraits using my handed down equipment because she can connect with people. She gets far more keeper portraits than I do. I don't even try to do portraiture. Most of my keepers with people are of the street photography variety when I catch them not looking at the camera (or me ;)).

I'll take macro, landscape, wildlife, astro, etc. any day. I work a lot better when people aren't part of the equation, and probably not just in photography. Ahhh, the life of an introvert.
 

MintChocs

EOS 80D
Nov 17, 2013
156
6
It's probably due to the fact that women are better talkers and at initiating conversations, but it's a skill one can improve on.
 

wsmith96

Advancing Amateur
Aug 17, 2012
923
17
Texas
That's why I encourage my wife to stick with tennis ;)

j/k, I would love it if my wife had a photography passion.
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
Nov 7, 2013
2,697
521
Germany
I cannot tell that my wife has a better technique and understanding of photography.

But when I still keep thinking about the picture, comming from the film days, where saving a picture sometimes counted, she just presses the button, fires 10 shots away and get's the one moment I don't.

That's my dilemma: I think to much ;)
 

kaswindell

Trying to be as good as my gear
Apr 13, 2013
153
1
56
Temple, NH
Visit site
I have been scanning old negatives and the people photos taken by my wife are indeed better than mine. My old sports photos are better, but maybe that is because she never shot sports... <sigh>
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,253
1,879
Canada
She is definitely better..... but she is a professional photographer and she did study photography at R.I.T.
 

MikeT

I'm New Here
Oct 15, 2014
15
0
I know the feeling, Tinky... My wife is definitely better than I am at engaging people. Also using my 'hand-me downs', she does a great job, often getting shots that I envy. My wife is also very competitive, so we play a game where we post our pictures on Facebook without saying who shot which ones, and wait to see who gets the most likes. I'm happy that she is engaged in the hobby I love so much, as she is more understanding of gear acquisitions and time dedicated to photography. And she makes a wonderful assistant at my shoots!!!
 

scottkinfw

Wildlife photography is my passion
Tinky said:
I've spent years reading books, watching tutorials, walking round galleries, trying the latest softwares, gadgets, gizmos, expensive lenses etc...

I lend my wife my very old 10D, a 430EX flashgun, talk to her a tiny bit about focus lock, exposure lock, and using AE shift to balance E-TTL flash with ambient..

She comes back with technically competent exposures. But she does more than that. She comes back with images of subjects engaging with and interacting with the person behind the camera. Not on command. Naturally.

She's came back with portraits, from her very first shoot, that I would be over-joyed with, anybody can work a camera, it's an unteachable gift to make a connection with people.

Hands up!. She's miles better than me.

Has this realisation crept upon any other forum users?
Don't hate me. I'm a half full kind of guy and I'm not a portrait shooter. Here are my 2 cents. Maybe this is a wake up call for you to get away from books, technical manuals, buttons, and nobs. Maybe you need to work on polishing your schmoozing skills. Obviously from your intro, you mastered the technicals, so now show the subjects your passion, get them involved, draw them out. If your wife married you, chances are, she sees something of herself in you, and you just need to bring it out.

Go get it tiger.

sek
 

pj1974

80D, M5, 7D, & lots of glass and accessories!
Oct 18, 2011
621
99
Adelaide, Australia
Interesting thread. My wife is very artistic (she can paint and draw very well). She also sings very well (I’m also musical, but her voice is purer and better than mine). I have been into photography since the mid 90’s… getting more serious (into DSLRs in 2005). Photography wise, my wife has made most of her photos with the number of smart phones she has had over the years.

A few years ago I bought her a Sony RX100. She has made many great images with that camera (and with her smart phones). When my wife has used my Canon 7D, she had stated she finds using the manual zoom easier, and also she likes the optical view finder.

A month ago I made the best value purchase of 2nd hand photography equipment I ever have. A tradesperson (who some years ago thought he would get into photography) wanted some quick cash. He realised he wasn’t using his ‘big’ camera anymore (just used his iphone) – so he listed his gear on Gumtree (an online forum for buying/selling / services, etc).

He had a gripped Canon 450D, 3 Canon lenses (18-55mm IS II, 55-250mm IS II and a Canon 75-300mm), Canon 450EX II flash, Lowepro bag, Manfrotto tripod, and some other accessories – for AUD$300. I bargained him down to AUD$280.

I gave my wife the bag, (gripped) 450D, 2 IS lenses and batteries. I kept the flash, tripod and a few accessories. I sold the 75-300mm lens to a friend at ‘mates rates’ for $70.

Already in the last month my wife has enjoyed using her ‘new’ camera a few times. I have explained more details to her about aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc.. and shown her how to use some of the camera features.

So, while I won’t say at this stage that she is a better photographer than me – I am conscious she is skilled and artistic, and she has a great ‘eye’ for images and good composition. My wife thinks my photos are nearly always superior to hers. I am naturally more of an extrovert than my wife… and it’s fair to say most people find it fairly easy to be oneself and be relaxed, around either/both my wife and myself. I’ve taken many photos of events (from camps, church events, weddings, etc).

But most of my photographic passion is in landscape, macro and wildlife. (My wife particularly loves macro photography). I have shown her how to use my Canon 100mm USM macro lens.

The next year will be interesting / telling, how much of the ‘technical’ of her camera my wife will keep learning (and enjoy learning) – and where she will reach her limits (and/or patience).

Cheers…

Paul 8)
 
P

Pookie

Guest
scottkinfw said:
Tinky said:
I've spent years reading books, watching tutorials, walking round galleries, trying the latest softwares, gadgets, gizmos, expensive lenses etc...

I lend my wife my very old 10D, a 430EX flashgun, talk to her a tiny bit about focus lock, exposure lock, and using AE shift to balance E-TTL flash with ambient..

She comes back with technically competent exposures. But she does more than that. She comes back with images of subjects engaging with and interacting with the person behind the camera. Not on command. Naturally.

She's came back with portraits, from her very first shoot, that I would be over-joyed with, anybody can work a camera, it's an unteachable gift to make a connection with people.

Hands up!. She's miles better than me.

Has this realisation crept upon any other forum users?
Don't hate me. I'm a half full kind of guy and I'm not a portrait shooter. Here are my 2 cents. Maybe this is a wake up call for you to get away from books, technical manuals, buttons, and nobs. Maybe you need to work on polishing your schmoozing skills. Obviously from your intro, you mastered the technicals, so now show the subjects your passion, get them involved, draw them out. If your wife married you, chances are, she sees something of herself in you, and you just need to bring it out.

Go get it tiger.

sek
Wow... well said.
 

Sabaki

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 4, 2012
800
0
45
Cape Town, South Africa
Had a loooooong discussion on this subject yesterday.

Down here in South Africa, we are very practical people. Explain rules of composition to us, technical image details and we can construct our images around that.

What we generally are not, are artistic people. We can emulate, "steal" ideas and perhaps be somewhat derivative but its rare that an original artistic trend or expression is seen in our work.

I often look at the amazing technical discussions and debates on this site and boy, can the Collective on these forums go deep into those amazing details that power our technology. May I further add, very much male dominated discussions too.

To me, people photography is about capturing the humanity in your images. That element that we identify with, that reflect our own experiences, make us wonder, make us feel a plethora of emotions and I strongly believe that women do a better job of creating an experience, where the model feels ready and comfortable enough to express in that way.

I, for instance, would rather worry about how technically correct my image is.

Am I wrong here?
 

kraats

EOS 80D
Oct 9, 2011
124
30
Photography is about the emotional connection with your subject. It has (almost) nothing to do with technology or having the best gear. ;)
 

Mikehit

EOS 5D MK IV
Jul 28, 2015
3,276
474
My father in law was a member of the Royal Photographic Society and PS and what used to annoy him was that he and his wife (who was a casual photographer) would stand in the same place photographing the same things and still she could create what to him was a better photograph. It was usually her photos on the wall!