Spreading My Wings - Trying New Things

Anyone who knows my style of photography or about the genre of photography I typically shoot, you know I am an urban exploration shooter. This is my passion and my love. I know photographers can make money at this by selling prints of their work but let’s be honest, how many urbex shooters do you know make a living selling their artwork? By no means am I saying this is impossible to do however let’s say it’s not commonplace.
Over the past year I have been thinking about how I can branch out. Ideas swimming around in my head. Personal projects I want to work on but mainly I wonder, how can I start making some real money at this? I have settled upon doing portraiture and headshots. It seemed very fitting seeing as I am currently the headshot photographer at my full time job. It was a no brainer. I truly enjoy the interaction with the client while shooting. Dealing with people and photographing them. Bringing out the best I can in them.
Recently I have found inspiration in watching some training videos on mastering the perfect headshot as well as other educational videos on different methods and styles of shooting headshots. One in particular by a photographer whose work I really admire, Peter Hurley. He has inspired me! I just love to watch him work and learn from him. He is a master at his craft and seems incredibly down to earth and to be honest, a very cool guy. Seeing as I don’t have a half decent headshot myself it would be a thrill to meet him and have him take my headshot. Seems pretty strange for a photographer not to have a really great headshot, I know.
Watching his videos has inspired me to not only branch out and try a new avenue to generate revenue but to experiment and pursue a new method of lighting to incorporate into my headshots. I gave this method a shot a couple of weeks ago for a friend of mine who is a real estate agent here in the Toronto area and I must say I am quite pleased with how they turned out. I know he is happy with the end results as well. Spreading your wings and branching out and trying new things can be very scary at times but the risk can be well worth the reward. I know I still have to practice and work on my technique but I am excited about this new journey I am embarking on in the photography world and I look forward to learning and developing my style as a headshot photographer.

Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone - Make Yourself Uncomfortable

This past weekend, I attended an amazing boudoir workshop with the incredible Jen Rozenbaum as the instructor put on by Henry’s Camera. Over the past few months I have become interested in and fascinated with boudoir style photography. I have even toyed with the idea of exploring it as a genre of photography to add to my skill set/repertoire.

First, let me say that Jen is an absolute master of her craft. She makes it look so easy and believe me it is anything but. There are so many moving parts to a boudoir shoot. Most importantly of all of them I believe to be giving direction, posing the model correctly and communication. Being able to communicate with the model is integral in order to produce the best possible images and get the best effort out of your model.

I am new to this genre of photography and even more so to giving people direction. This definitely took me outside my comfort zone. It was a tough thing for me to do however I did come out of it completely unscathed and alive. I must say it’s an incredible feeling to accomplish something by pushing yourself past the point of being uncomfortable. One could argue that unless you are pushing yourself to the point of discomfort you aren’t progressing. I can honestly say I wholeheartedly agree with that argument.

There was a point in the workshop where I wasn’t feeling comfortable getting up in front of 15 people and giving the model direction or instruction on how to pose so I decided to sit the session out. Jen came and sat beside me and asked why I was sitting this one out? I told her I was brand new to this type of photography and I was incredibly nervous about standing up in front of all these people and directing our model. She turned to me, very simply and matter of factly said to me “That’s ok, I still get nervous sometimes”. This really resonated with me and made me think: If this woman who has been doing this for 6 years full time professionally and still gets nervous, then hell yeah it’s ok for me to be nervous too!

Stepping outside your normal routine, your comfort zone, is a very beneficial thing in more ways than one. I recommend that everyone do it and do it often. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Yes, you will definitely feel nervous, scared and uncomfortable but this fear can fuel and push you to new heights and discoveries about yourself. What’s the worst that can happen? You learn a few things, experience new things!?

This was an incredible experience and I am glad I pushed myself to experience and take part in this workshop. I look forward to doing more stepping outside my comfort zone a living a little more in my yikes zone. Try it and enjoy the ride!

Making Changes - Shaking Things Up

As artists we should always be looking for fresh new ideas and ways of creating our art differently and expressing ourselves. Some people like to go drastic with the changes and completely re-invent the wheel others like to make minor tweaks, that’s more my speed. Creating the same thing over and over could become quite boring and cause us, as well as others to lose interest in our creations.

I myself have recently decided to take this advice and apply it to my own work and methods. I was out on a shoot a few weeks ago and usually I rush home after I have been out shooting and load my images from the day’s adventure onto my computer and get right down to editing. Well this time I did indeed load them onto my computer and briefly looked though them to see what I had captured and then I decided to shut my computer down. I figured I would let them sit for a bit and walk away instead of jumping right into the post production process. I wanted to let the images set into my brain and think about them and the shoot. I wanted to think carefully about how to approach the images and edits. I sat on the images for a week or so and finally decided to sit down at my computer and begin working on them.

As I began to edit I decided I wanted to try on a new look for my work nothing major, just to create a bit of a different look and feel to the images. Try to pull the viewer into the images a bit more, engage them a bit more and make them really think and want to be taken to these beautifully decrepit places which I photograph. I want the viewer to create THEIR own story in their heads from what they see in the work. After all it is our job as artists to pull the viewer in and make them part of the art, to engage and peak their interest. If you can capture your audience in that manner, I would say you are doing pretty well.

I would urge and encourage you and artists alike to try something different. Break out of your comfort zone, and break all the rules. You may be pleasantly surprised with the outcome and even pick up a few new admirers in the process. The reward could very well be worth the risk.