I talked myself out of writing this several times, so believe me, its very existence alarms me, too.

‘Does anyone care if you were recently asked for photography advice?’ I asked myself.

‘Nope, not really’ I answered, but then, I realised the underlying message has nothing to do with photography, ‘so just post it and stop being a tool’ I insisted. [I also asked the human who requested my help if I could share her email. Her exact words were, ‘oh, absolutely… go for it!”

[Email i received Wednesday 15 June, 12:33]

Hi CK,

I hope all is well.

Brief re-introduction, I’m Candace and we met at Loretta’s Spotlight event and the first thing I said to you was ‘You’re so radio’ LOL. I spoke to you briefly about photography and cameras, and now I’m really in need of some expertise advise as this photography jargon is making me a little cross-eyed..

So I’ve done some research, and my amateur findings have resulted in me narrowing my options down to the following 3:-

The Sony ILCE5000L, the Sony A5100 and the Fujifilm X-A2.

I have a growing interest in photography and I’m after a compact camera that takes professional looking shots and video for indoor and outdoor lighting. I’ll primarily be using it for portrait style photography as well.

What do you think of my findings? Or could is there another one you could suggest?

My budget also is around £450.

Help please!

Best,

[Email i sent Wednesday 15 June, 15:52]

Hey Candace, nice to hear from you, and thanks for saying “hi”.

Really excited to hear you’re so keen to dabble with shooting stuff, I know you’ll be great.

How do I know this?

Simple, you have a great personality!

PLEASE, PLEASE don’t ever make the mistake of thinking your ability as a photographer has anything to do with what camera you buy… it has nothing to do with it. I had no interest in being a photographer at first, I just enjoyed taking pictures on my phone… just mucking about. I still do that now. It wasn’t until someone (a professional) said “CK, here’s my pro camera… give that a go, I’ve seen what you’ve achieved on your phone, and it’s great!” that I even touched a pro camera. That was a mere 2 years ago.

So, to answer your question… if you buy a camera for £450, it won’t make you any better than if you bought one for £99, because neither will teach you what really counts… which is being AMAZING with people & having a fertile/creative mind.

If you watch ANY of my behind-the-scenes videos, you’ll notice how much fun me and the ‘model’ are having. I meet these people for the first time at 1pm, and by 6pm, we’re great chums. THAT’S HOW I NAIL THOSE NATURAL LOOKS.

I haven’t changed my camera in all the time since I started… it’s the same one the guy gave me… I bought it off him for £250. New, it was about £2k, but it’s about 8 years old.

What’s my point?

My point is go to a shop… play around, hold the cameras, see what feels nice… but my only advice is NEVER get bogged down with tech & spec, focus instead on feeling/mood/building relationships with your ‘model’.

I suspect this answer will piss you off, because it’s quite non-specific, but if I was to start advising you on cameras, I’d feel like I was turning into one of those photography geeks I so detest.

Please get back to me with ANY questions or anything else I can help you with… I’m happy to help wherever i can. Finally, my way isn’t necessarily the ‘right way, it’s just my way :))

[Email i received Wednesday 16 June, 11:07]

Hi CK,

You know what, thank you for being honest and reminding me of my initial thought process! I mean,  women can wear the best make up in the world but if their skin isn’t right, it makes no difference LOL..

I say that to say this, I have a small Sony digital camera and I was beginning to feel pressured to purchase a fancy camera in order to create quality content, when in fact, good photography is more about the photographer and relationship with the subject than the camera used. I, too, have seen some great pictures taken on phones as well.

Developing my photography skills with my phone and digital camera are the steps I’ll take as I already have the passion for it, so it’s more about practice. Honestly, it’s so refreshing to hear stuff like this instead of the technical jargon. I absolutely LOVE your work, so I appreciate your response.

I’m also interested to talk to you about your experience in radio. I’m a writer and really keen to get into the journalism side of things, but I find asking people questions from the top of my head so hard and sometimes daunting! Eek!

Any tips?

[I replied telling her to get a minimum of five of her mates together, and next time I’m in London, I’ll do a free presenting/media workshop for them]

[She replied with glee, bless her]

To give you a little background, I met Candace in London, at the launch of a brand new music night I was invited to host by my Radio DJ bestie Loretta Andrews. Once I’d wrapped-up the event, I was surprised to find people wanting to come over and talk to me. Although, let’s face it, I am quite dashing, in a ‘giant sweat patch’ kinda way.

Candace was super friendly, smiley & kinda reminded me of me when I started out in media [eager, but not a pushy nob]. I gave her my card and welcomed her to ask me anything, anytime. This she did.

A few days after chatting with Candace via email, I started talking to a random bloke in a random building. This bloke went on to ask if I’d be interested in delivering talks to College students. See the full story here, this post has already outstayed its welcome.

The underlying message here is a simple one, and yet again, I defer you to the words of my friend & mentor Jon Covey “give more than you receive, and eventually, you will receive more than you give.”

Or, in layman terms, ‘don’t be a dick, if someone asks you for help, however busy you are, help them… and go out of your way to give them more than a minute of your life. Basically, give them whatever they want, it’s your duty as a non-nob.’

Finally, if you’re wondering, the cheesecake in the header image was both free (client gave it to me) and delicious (finished it in 2 days)