2014 has just started and so much has happened. I've switched brands, got new photo books and albums, worked on my website, added a ton of content on my blog and have become a daily contributor on a photography based Facebook group.
As a photographer I'm always searching to learn new things, continue to develop my skills and to have the right attitude towards my business. I always want to offer excellent customer service and to produce quality results and products. Having the right gear is also important and knowing how to use it really well.
But, there is another aspect of photography that remains really important - photography. Photography does not stop once you press the shutter or once you deliver the product to your client.
I got into photography because I love being creative and I wanted to learn how to use a DSLR and capture all the beauty around me. It started with nature, to close ups and later to taking photos of people. I read countless blogs, youtube videos, books etc. It was really fun for me as there was always something there that I didn't quite know and I wanted to know. I would purposely head out in mid day sunlight to try and take photos as I was always told that was the worst lighting to photograph in. But, I learned a lot about shadows, finding even lighting and mostly about finding natural reflectors. I learned how to work in tough lighting situations and finding ways to make it work.
I joined a photography club and learned how to use studio lighting, which I later found isn't really my style, but the knowledge was invaluable.
I then got into event photography and picked up a couple flashes and practiced with them to try and get flattering images. This was tough as well, but I practiced and practiced.
I learned to shoot in full manual mode and practiced taking photos indoors and outdoors, good lighting and bad lighting. And, I picked up Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop and started to see how they could work for me. That is another whole skill all together. Good photo taking technique should come first.
Then it came to the point where I had to come up with an online presence, pricing, packages, and goals for myself. These are never set in stone and it requires constant adjusting and sometimes even re-doing all together to reach your goals.
And, this is something you can't learn just by taking photos. It requires educating yourself in as many ways possible and above all believing in yourself.
And then the day came when I started to teach photography basics. This was around a year ago and it was something I was going to try and see if I liked it or not.
This was eye opening to me. I didn't realize how much I had learned and I was spilling out content. Probably too much, but I found I was very passionate about teaching, educating and critiquing. When I was teaching I noticed how passionate I actually was in photography. It took me back to when I was struggling to learn a concept or apply something I thought I understood, but just wasn't coming together.
From the very simple topics to the more advanced topics I had found ways to express them better. I saw a learning process that builds upon itself and much more direct than my try it and do it over and over approach.
I found other like minded photographers who were also looking to improve and I offered them some guidance. Its interesting how many people enjoy photography and how many want to learn.
I took on a few students here and there and it really helped me a lot. It helped me word things better, explain things better and showed me that everyone learns differently.
This was and still is very rewarding.
As I mentioned earlier I have become a very active member of a photography related group on Facebook. This group is designed for newbie to experienced photographers who are interested in getting better, getting quality critiques without them being rude and those who simply love photography. This group has been a fantastic way for me to give a little back. I often give gear suggestions, image critiques, business tips and tons of pleasant conversations with other photographers around the world.
What I noticed I was doing was offering gear reviews, product reviews and doing a lot more show and tell. My switch to Fuji gear re-ignited my techie side. I started to talk about pros and cons, and to offer information on thins that people might be interested in. I remembered all the countless websites and blogs I had gone for information and decided I also wanted to offer some general photography information as well. And, this is something I want to continue to do.
I honestly believe that before we all started accepting money for photography we truly enjoyed the true nature of photography. We took photos for our satisfaction and we wanted to learn more for that sense of accomplishment. Photography is really, really difficult and requires a lot of skill to excel consistently. A few lucky photos or snap shots are always fun, but truly knowing and understanding why something worked is very rewarding. Being confident that you can capture something new or in a new way is what keeps us out there with our cameras.
I'm always looking forward to taking my next BEST PHOTO.
I'm curious about Stage IV. It could be increasing my mentoring program, or offering workshops, or launching an educational website or start a Youtube series!
In some way I want to continue to give back to the photography community.
If you've made it this far it might be because you're just as passionate as I am about photography. And that's awesome!
I'm happy to answer any photography questions, or to hear about your journey.