important

Better Gear DOES NOT Make You A Better Photographer

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…never have truer words been spoken. This has been a constant debate and topic of discussion among photographers in forums and the like for years upon years. It’s a pointless argument/discussion because it’s neither the camera nor the lens that make the picture, it’s the photographer!

Over the years, I have often heard from many people: “oh I need to buy this expensive camera”, “that expensive lens” or “I can’t create the images I want to because I only have this shitty camera or this crappy lens”.  STOP with the excuses!  Nothing could be further from the truth. You absolutely DO NOT need expensive gear to create amazing images.

I wish I had the money to buy all the gear I wanted but I don’t and I don’t feel that is truly going to help me create better work. I suggest you start out with a relatively inexpensive camera and the kit lens that comes with it. Get to know the ins and outs of your camera.  Practice, practice and more practice with what you have. Master your camera.  Learn it inside out.

You can worry about better gear and spending more money later on once you have worked on and honed your craft.  Learn the basic principles of photography and master the camera you have.  So many people get caught up in spending a ton of money on gear when they are just starting out it and it really isn’t going to make you a better photographer nor is it necessary.

Only YOU have the ability to make YOU a better photographer. So get out there practice, learn and talk to other photographers who have been at this awhile. Take courses, get a mentor but MOST importantly get out there and shoot!

Print Portfolios - How Important Are They?

In today’s world where ease of access, instant gratification and convenience are king, it’s very easy to get caught up and even lost in the digital world. I have been asked many times: “Do you have an online presence?”, “Do you have a portfolio we can look at online?” Yes I do have a website not unlike most people in our business do and I have some work in other places that could be considered a portfolio. Normally when I get asked these questions, it is usually by people who are looking to see a sample of my work in order to jury it to make a decision for a show or a magazine submission. Now in this type of situation it makes perfect sense because it’s quick and incredibly convenient. This is usually the way I roll when it comes to portfolios. A printed portfolio was always more, maybe I should put one together one day. I never really gave it much weight that is until very recently.
A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend of mine and he asked me if I had ever given any thought to trying to get my art into some corporate spaces. To be honest, the thought had crossed my mind previously but just as fast as it entered, it was gone again. He told me I should give it some serious thought because he had a place in mind for my work. He just so happened to have some high level contacts and said he would be happy to send along an email to attempt to facilitate a meeting for me. Well that was all I needed to hear and I thought why not! Nothing ventured, nothing gained! I immediately told him YES! Let’s see what happens.
The very next day I was copied on an email from my friend to an Executive explaining how he knew a photographer whose work he thought would fit in well in their workplace. Three days later, I received an email with a request for a meeting to show him my portfolio. I was ecstatic, over the moon excited and a bundle of nerves all at once. I knew I had but this one opportunity to rock this meeting and really make it count so everything had to be perfect! I was only going to get one shot at making an impression so I had to ensure I left one hell of a good one! Right away the thought came to me! I have to present a printed portfolio for this one. I replied back with a date which was a couple of weeks away which would afford me the time needed to get this whole thing put together.
That night I went home and immediately got to work on selecting my images - which ended up initially being nineteen but got whittled down to a final ten - which I would send off to be printed. Fast forward a week and there I was with these images in my hands. Wow, what a very different feeling. Actually having the tactile feel of physical images in my hands. It took me back to my film and darkroom days. I immediately went to work placing them into my brand new portfolio book. When I was finished, I stood there and looked at the images this way and I felt proud in that moment to have something like this in my hands that I could call “MY” portfolio.
In my opinion, a printed portfolio goes a long way and speaks volumes. It shows you take pride in your work and care to take that extra step to ensure you leave a lasting impression. Not every situation calls for this type of investment but at some point you will encounter it in your career and I strongly urge you to follow through and make the investment in print, you will be glad you did!

The Importance of Printing Your Work - Preserving Memories

As photographers, printing our work is or at least should be a big part of what we do for ourselves AND of course our clients. In my humble opinion, preserving in print the work we create is a necessity. Photographs are meant to be seen on paper not on a screen. Remember the days of film photography? That is all we had. Shoot your images on film. Take that film into the darkroom and watch your images come to life on a piece of photo paper right in front of your eyes. It was like magic! If you didn’t have access to a dark room, you would just drop your images off at the lab to be processed then headed back in a few days to pick up your images. The excitement you felt when opening up that envelope that contained your images…ohhh the anticipation and excitement! It was a tangible thing. You could touch it, feel it AND look at it. There is something almost romantic about a printed image. You just can’t quite recreate that film look when you are shooting digitally. One could say printing emancipates your photographs!
Nowadays we just take the memory card out of our cameras, slide it into the slot on our computers and start browsing the images in the program of our choice for viewing/editing. You can just edit your images in a program on the computer, export it, attach it to an email and send it off to whomever you want. You can also share your image with hundreds/thousands of others by simply throwing that digital file onto the Internet and instantly have an audience. Digital photography is incredibly convenient for sure but it’s not the same.
There is still something to be said for physically holding in your hands a moment captured in time that was printed on photo paper. To be able to see something you created hanging on a wall framed and in print...you just can’t beat that feeling it gives you. To be able to stand back and admire that gives you an indescribable feeling.

Photography - The Importance of Portraiture

Photography isn’t something as simple as pushing a button and capturing a moment. I mean yes, that is the mechanics of it but there is so much more to it than simply pushing a button. Photography tells a story that we may not always be able to put into words. The photographs “speak” and allow us to leave a legacy.
Portrait photography is important and what we do as photographers IS definitely important. With a camera, we can bring out self-awareness. It gives us an opportunity to show people a beauty which they may have never seen or noticed before. Taking someone’s portrait can really help boost their self-confidence by showing them their beauty and truly making them feel beautiful!
The ability to do something like this can be life altering and that my friends, is something incredible. To be able to do that for a person makes you feel euphoric as a photographer. The over-all experience we provide for our clients in a photo session is just as important as the images we make for them.
Our job as portrait photographers is to take THE most beautiful image of you that you have ever seen and give you something to look back upon, something tangible that you will always have.
How many people can say in their job they get the opportunity to alter someone’s attitude or view of themselves, to make someone feel something they have never felt before?
When you put all this into perspective, it’s easy to see why photographs are so vital! Not only to document what is happening or transpiring but also to show people the real beauty that exists within all of us but somehow not always able to see. Nothing can be more rewarding that to help someone see themselves in the way that makes them feel proud and that is beautiful to me.

Support Systems - Do You Have One In Place?

If there is one thing I have learned as an artist, be it through speaking with other artists or business owners, a key part of their businesses is to have a solid support system in place. This will be of great assistance in building a solid foundation for your career as an artist or business owner.

It is incredibly important to have that support and backing from your friends, family and peers. It is going to be a long road in building your business as an artist and you will need all the help you can get in terms of having people in your corner. This will do wonders for your confidence as well as your creativity. Let’s be honest, as an artist going out on your own can and will be draining because most of your time will not be spent creating your art but building your business and taking care of all the “business” like tasks that need to be taken care of.

I realize, as many of you probably do as well there are undoubtedly going to be many naysayers. People trying to piss all over your parade. There will be others that think you are crazy for doing this and just don’t understand in general. I say a big FUCK YOU to all the naysayers! SCREW YOU negativity! Don’t let them get inside your head. If this is your passion, follow it. These people should be the fuel that drives you, to push you even harder to succeed. Don’t let them get you down. I know that’s hard at times but you have to filter out the noise.

There will always be HATERS. The key is to remember where they are coming from. It’s a place of jealousy and discontent with their own situations. They are just too scared to do what you are doing, so out comes the hate and negativity.

Support systems are an integral part to succeeding. It will most certainly make the road you travel that much easier when you have your own personal cheering section there with you along the way.

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