forward motion, part one

 I've been struggling with product photography for several years, ever since I developed the hand tremor and double vision after my brain surgery. I kept trying to find ways to compensate - better gear, better lighting, better props, better software, better tutorials - but in the end, I always found myself with underwhelming photos, aching shoulders and back, and ever more frustration. And then it got to the point where I actively dreaded photography days.

Over the past year or so I've come to realize that a lot of my workflow routines exist solely because That's How It's Always Been Done. The infrastructure of my website works has completely changed (twice, actually) and so has my shipping software. Most of my routines were obsolete at best, and sometimes actually obstructive... and so, I set out to change them.

Moving my workspace into the living room was the first big step. Deciding to put new items up on the website as I made them rather than all at once, was another. I've been really happy with the outcome of both of those choices. 

But the photography... this one stings. I don't want to abandon the photography. I have an excellent Nikon DSLR, and over the past year or so I've been sinking what money I could into upgrading my lighting and other gear. I've spent a lot of time reading about photography technique, trying to understand the technical part of how it all works. I've gotten a little better, I think.

The truth is, though, I can take perfectly adequate product photos with my iPhone right at at the workbench. And I can do it in a fraction of the time and without the stress or the backache from holding a heavy camera or the sweating from being under 1000 watts of photofloods. Yesterday I took photos of the same piece both ways, just to be sure I wasn't imagining things. I wasn't. The photo I took on the Nikon was slightly sharper, but iPhone photo was better. 

Could I become a better photographer? Almost certainly. Do I have the time, energy, or inclination to do so right now? Nope. 

And yet... the guilt. You're waisting your good gear, it whispers in my ear. Don't you remember how much money you invested into the lighting last year? What was the point of all of that if you're just going to use your iPhone now?

I'm trying not to listen to that voice, because right now, I need to focus on growing the business, not becoming an expert photographer. If I can take perfectly adequate photos in a fraction of time and with none of the stress, using this magical computer that fits into my pocket? Then that's what I need to be doing.

Because we're living in the future. And I need to catch up.

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