Since it’s a bit chilly outside today I thought I would start to create some artwork for my new Xbox Room (yes I have a room dedicated to Xbox and UFC in my new home). I have traveled to many places, seen many things, but I find with digital, unless you print the images right away they tend to just stay on the computer or placed on DVD and archived. So I just spent the last little while going through some fabulous memories and picked a few images to be displayed. I wanted to keep them all B&W for a consistent theme and each image has a story to tell, so when you come over ask. The first image is already hanging in our living room, it’s 50 inches in length and is an image I took in Belize last year. I plan going through more of my past images and hopefully Jocelyne will let me hang them throughout the house.
Got an interesting email from Diana…..
I see myself in your check list, (she’s referring to an older newsletter- click
here to read that one) but the part of photography I like the best is the
computer part… taking a good photo and making it GREAT. I love to do
retouching. And I love painting from my photos.
I love people, but feel awkward around them and so like the retouching best.
What would you say to someone like that…. I can hear you now… “get over it
and get out there and shoot”…. right? And for the most part, I do get over it
- obviously I am out there shooting, but am afraid to make it a full time job.
I don’t know if it’s because I have to work so closely with people or because
I’m afraid it will become and “job” and I can no longer spend the time I now
spend doing the retouching.
Your own testimony of how much you love your work makes me rethink that
maybe it wouldn’t become a “job” if I have a passion for it – and I do!
Thanks for all your wonderful encouragement and words of wisdom. I
always look forward to your newsletters and yours are the ones I almost
always make time to read! I appreciate your attitude toward other
photographers and especially as it relates to teaching others. You are one in
a million! God bless you! Diana”
Get over it and get out there and shoot. Hmmm, maybe I would say that, maybe I
wouldn’t. Diana, you need to honest with yourself.
This line is key:
I love people, but feel awkward around them and so like the retouching best.
So, are you saying you are burying your head in the sand because you feel
awkward around people? Or, are you saying you truly love the computer work
and artistic side, and the feeling awkward is your best rationale. Either way, they
both make sense and there is no right or wrong.
BUT, if you love to shoot, but don’t like that awkward feeling, then yes, get over it.
We all been there. No one, I mean NO ONE comes close to the
anxiety levels I felt when I started out.
In my early twenties, started shooting school photos, and nearly had an
all out nervous breakdown.
I’m serious. This is no joke.
Everytime I drove by the hospital I considered checking myself in. Really.
I was beyond awkward. I was a nervous wreck. In retrospect, I look back
now, and see it all as my journey. The pain was awful, made worse by my career
choice. But I pushed through it all. Thank God I didn’t burrow my head
and avoid the pain with some medication or addiction or by hiding
in a safe and low key job. Thank God.
Somehow, I knew better.
It’s amazing. Here I was, 22 year old, scared to death of a group of four year
old children that I had to photograph. That first year was awful. I did drink a lot
to help me make it through. I don’t suggest anyone do the same.
I did make it through, and went back for a second year of punishment.
And, I slowly got stronger. Felt some sort of confidence building. It took me
a long time, but build I did. I had along way to go.
When I was 24, I started my own studio. And, worked part-time for the school
photographer. I felt much better by then. Drinking was habitual, disguised as
partying. Which it was. I was young, tough and having way too much fun socially.
Eventually I grew up and got sober, joined Toastmasters, and the studio got
even bigger and better. Now, I can speak in front of any group, any size,
with total confidence. You can write out a topic, give it to me, then put me
on a stage in front of 500 people, and ask me to ‘wing’ a speech for say, 20 minutes and I will.
I am that focused.
Not bad for a guy that was at one time shaking in his boots in front of
a cute class of nose-picking, drooling, slouching four year olds..is it?
This is NOT a talent. It is a skill I honed. And it took me years to do that.
Years. Many of them.
Would I change anything? Not for a second. No regrets. It’s life. My life.
So, what is your life? Creating a life isn’t always easy, as I described in mine.
But, it is our own responsibility. Not others. So, if one truly loves the creative
side at the computer, I mean really, honestly driven by it, and the whole
process of working images up to amazing new heights of creative levels,
then, so be it.
Run with it. Decide you will become the greatest workflow artist, who’s awkward
around people. but that’s okay. The end product is what matters.
There will always be some need to communicate with others. But, you
can easily niche yourself and your work. But, it has to be outstanding.
And you must love it, for the RIGHT reasons.
Of course, you can’t get into high volume portraits, unless
you’re in the learning phase.
But if you wanted to created art, real pieces of art through your
photoshop and painter skills, it wouldn’t make any sense in a high
And, you have to be strong and confident enough to sell, and ask a higher
price. This, for certain, is NOT something you can avoid.
If you were weak and insecure and pumping out higher volumes
of kick butt work, and afraid to charge what it is truly worth, you will
burn out. Only a matter of time.
So, my advice is, be honest with yourself. Decide what YOU
want, for the right reasons.
And build the confidence up to attract wealth. It’s not bad thing.
One of my favorite sayings is instructive:
“This is the true joy in life…being used for a purpose recognized by yourself
as a mighty one…being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little
clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote
itself to making you happy…I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the
whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever
I can. I want to be used up when I die. For the harder I work the more I live.
rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It’s a sort of
splendid torch which I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it
burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”
~George Bernard Shaw~
I love that saying and live by it.
hope this helps….
yours in photography,
A Boy A Girl A Bike and a DRAGON?
Tuesday night we headed out to Trout lake to photograph the Chaters Family and the engagement session of Andrea & Nik. After driving 400 miles on a dirt road, through Sasquatch invested forests, up and down death defying mountains and across shark infested marshes, we arrived at the beautiful property. We worked hard, we worked fast as the clouds were rolling in and shutting down our daylight right before our eyes. After creating some beautiful family portraits of the Chaters (blog post to follow) we then started the engagement portion of the session with a dragon. That’s right, Woody the bearded dragon. Note: To all fellow photographers looking to photograph a bearded dragon. Do not, I repeat do not convince the owner to take pictures outside with no leash. Why? Because they run away that is why. Little does Nik know but as I watched Woody mad dash towards the woods my heart sunk to the bottom of my stomach where it then tried very hard exit my body. What would be the chances of finding Woody after it rushed into woods? ummmmm. I would say zero. Good thing Nik is quick and on his game as Woody never had a chance leave the grass. PHEW!.
Our Clients Are Our Friends
Yesterday (on our day off) Joce and I had the pleasure of hanging out with our good friends Cindy & Gaston. We opted for a motorcycle ride to Manitoulin Island, a trip that we have planned for a few months now, but unfortunately has been rained out everytime. Even yesterday as we left our driveway, the showers started, but by the time we got into Lively the skies cleared and we had beautiful weather for the rest of the day. We have said this before and we LOVE the fact that is keeps getting proven to us year after year, our clients are our friends. We met Cindy & Gaston (and their lovely family) when we photographed their wedding at the Saenchiur Flechey Resort just over 3 years ago. I remember being at their reception after we were all said and done and the both of them sat at our table talking to us for quite some time. This was their wedding, with all their family and friends, but they sat at our table and we chatted for a good 45 minutes. I also remember after being there for the first 15 minutes as Cindy was getting ready, looked at Joce and I and said “I am SO GLAD you two are here”. Little things like this stick with us for a long long time.
There are tons of photographers who use on camera flash, many times to add fill which just isn’t necessary. It’s also BORING.
You need to know how to READ the light and FIND the light.
One trick is to expose for the shadow. Go to your subject, take a reading and expose for that. Does it work? One quick trick is to try it without taking a reading. Just evaluate on your own, take a guess, shoot and see. Does it look okay? Does the light all come together?
Go to your subject, look back at the camera.
Where’s the light source? It should be obvious.
If it’s a large brick wall, then, that’s your light source.
Where is the light?
Evaluate it using that most powerful of all light meters, your brain.
And oh, don’t forget, that two year old needs your attention, Dads’ getting impatient, the other dad is really getting a sore knee, the teenager hates you, thinks this is so geeky, the mom thinks she looks fat in her jeans,….
Any bellies hanging out? Any stiffness? Any awkward poses with anyone?
Think. Think fast!
Hurry! That little baby girl is getting hungry and starting to cry.
Pull it all together, both all the technical, artistic and psychological and make it happen! Quick!
If this were easy, we wouldn’t be in business.
You want to talk original? Take a look at this recent post from another outstanding member:
“Recently, while browsing Apartment Therapy (drool), I saw some darling art with birds and string. That got me thinking, how can I adapt this for myself. Here is what I came up with.
*NOTE* I did not have any regular white rope at the studio so I had to use some of the green grosgrain I use to package prints/orders. I will be replacing the rope/string tomorrow.
I think this could work for even one kid- just do three different expressions. And, if you had a whole whackload of kids it could be fun, too.