October 24, 2013

10,000 Hours


Wait!!! nobody said there would be any math, this is a photo blog after all. Well this blog is about experience and I am going to use Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers and his concept of 10,000 hours to illustrate my point.

In Outliers, Gladwell suggests that some of the greatest artists, innovators and inventors of our times were not only in the right place at the right time, but that they had over 10,000 hours of practice or experience in their field. People like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and the Beatles are who they are today because they put in the time and payed their dues.oil fire near lasalle

So I started doing some calculations of my own; Chris and I both have over 10 years of experience working full time as photographers. Assuming that we worked only 40 hours-a-week (trust me it was a lot more) and that we worked 52 weeks a year (who takes vacations anymore), that means we put in more than 20,000 hours each in those ten years. That number doesn’t include all the freelance work and weddings that we did on the side or working on a photo story after work because it didn’t fit in to our eight hour day.

I am not comparing us to those Gates, Jobs, John, Paul, George or Ringo. What I am trying to do, is illustrate that there is no replacement for experience. All that intensive shooting tuned us to be photography machines. Being ready to capture moment, anticipate movement, have the camera exposing correctly and focused on the right person in a matter of milliseconds takes experience and practice. Sometimes I am lifting my camera or pushing the shutter before I even know why. It has become as natural as breathing.

Friends and Photographers in other disciplines often tell me that weddings are far too stressful, “there are no re-shoots” they say. There were no re-shoots in the news business, if you missed it, that was it. Not to sell weddings short but I’ll take a stressed bride over an angry mob or a burning building any day. We simply have seen a lot of different things, photographed them and returned to the newsroom and turned our photos in before deadline. Our style of wedding photography allows us to adapt to any changes quickly, because we have no preconceived notion of how the wedding should look. Every newspaper assignment was different and so it goes with weddings.

We are at your wedding to document and capture what happens and our vast experience ensures that no matter what happens you will have great photos of that special day. Give us a call or toss us an email. We’d love to talk to you!


Eric Bellamy
Wedding Photojournalist at Stark Bellamy Photography
Eric Bellamy is an award-winning photojournalist whose work has appeared on the likes of ESPNHS, the New York Times, Denver Post and more. He now focuses on editorial-style wedding photography and portraiture. He lives with his wife and children, and enjoys climbing rock and ice as well as sampling good wine and food in Northern Colorado.