encouragement

Finding Your Inner Creative Soul as a Photographer

Alright photographers, here’s something esoteric from a person that isn’t esoteric at all. For a minute, let’s just forget about all the settings, lenses and cameras we photographers love to talk about all day long. This article is solely dedicated to your inner creative soul. That deep, underlying voice of your photography that influences all your creative decisions. What is it in you that actually leads to hitting the shutter?

Kill Your Master in Photography

Dear photographer friend,

I wanted to write you a letter on the concept of “killing the masters of photography”. It is kind of a Buddhist philosophy, as well as a philosophy I gained from Seneca, my stoic philosophy hero and mentor.

Dear Photographer, You Only Live Once

Dear friend,

You might have heard the term “YOLO”, which stands for “you only live once”. However, I think most people misconstrue the word. They think that it means to live a life of hedonism and pleasure, and give themselves the license to do stupid stuff and waste their time and money.

7 Things I Learned from My Portfolio Review

Last weekend I went to the small city of Ballarat in Australia for the Ballarat International Foto Biennale. I took a portfolio of prints of my most recent project with me in the hope I would get some nudges in the right direction. I also took part in a one-day workshop led by the very experienced and inspirational Stephen Dupont. While it’s still fresh in my mind, here is what I learned from the experience.

On Feeling Inadequate as a Photographer

My life is pretty good. I live in one of the coolest cities in the world (Toronto), I have a lot of close friends, good family, an amazing girlfriend who loves me, and I’m beginning to think my photography business is sustainable after almost five years of hard work. I’m happier now than I have been for most of my life. But here’s the reality: I am just a blue collar photographer.

You Need More than ‘Natural Talent’ to Make it as a Photographer

Movies on the big screen sometimes have valuable nuggets of wisdom that can be applied to photography (and life). We recently shared one such clip from the movie "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty." Here's another one from the movie "Boyhood."

In this 3-minute clip, the main character, Mason, has a conversation with his photography teacher, Mr. Turlington, in the class darkroom. It turns out to be a fatherly lecture about the importance of adding hard work and other qualities on top of natural talent.

You Sure You Want to Be a Wedding Photographer?

If you want to be a wedding photographer, you need to stop and think about your life.

So you want to be a wedding photographer? Want to go pro, go full-time, ditch that desk and take the industry by storm? Stop and think about your life. Do you LOVE to work? Like, truly LOVE working? Not the recognition, not the money and the fame, and least of all the internal accomplishment feedback that comes from achieving small successes that only you can see. Nope, you pretty much need to love doing the work.

So, What Kind Of Photographer Are You?

“Hello, my name is Steve, and I’m a photographer.”

I have been told that as a photographer I should be able to explain to people quickly and easily what kind of photographer I am in a sentence or two. This is similar to an artist statement, only much shorter. An example of a great reply to this question would be something like, “Hi, my name is Annie, and I’m an American portrait and celebrity photographer who shoots for editorial and commercial clients like Rolling Stone and American Express.”

Robert De Niro to Graduating Art Students: ‘You’re F**ked’

Robert De Niro was recently invited to give the graduation speech to the 2015 class at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts -- a large audience that included photography students. What he had to say has caused quite a stir.

“Tisch graduates, you made it,” De Niro began. Then, with a pause, he continued: “And, you’re f**ked.”

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Be Inspired by Your Photos

I think, as an industry, photographers talk about inspiration a lot. We are either trying to find it, discover it or attempting to evoke it. I’ve recently found inspiration in the last place I would expect it: in my own work. More than the work, actually, the inspiration is from the subjects. And the inspiration that affected me has nothing to do with photography. Over the last two years, I’ve stumbled into photographing more athletes and fitness enthusiasts, and it has, in great part, inspired me to take better care of myself.

The Only Way to Do Great Work is to Love What You Do

Cinematographer Tucker MacDonald created this inspiring video titled "Find What You Love." It features snippets of commencement speeches given by two men who were titans in their respective fields: tech entrepreneur Steve Jobs and film director Martin Scorsese.

Should We Listen To ‘Critics’ or Show Them The Door?

(The Roosevelt quote above is one of my all time favorites. I have a couple of copies of it and one is on the wall next to my cluttered, USB encrusted desk.)

Ahhh… the world of the artist. A place where we can nurture our ideas and share our bountiful creativity to others who will accept it into their lives with open arms, and smiles of gratitude.

Or… not.

Go Pro? Maybe What You Need is to Go Amateur

Photography is one of the most popular hobbies on the planet, but you’d never know it by reading most photography blogs, podcasts, books, and tutorials. It’s treated as a profession, where the goal is making money, buying more expensive gear or getting your prints into galleries around the world. You’re being enticed to “Go Pro,” and that’s just not realistic for the vast majority of photographers. Most photographers could benefit from going amateur.

10 Beliefs That Suck the Life out of Photographers

What if I told you that it's not the industry, the bad economy, where you live, what camera you shoot with, how many lights you have or how small your Facebook following is that is holding you back. None of those are truly capable of stopping you, they are only challenges for you to meet -- the same challenges everyone who creates art or starts a business has to meet and beat.

How “Doing What You Love” Can Be A Realistic Career Option

Here's a quote from a recent article I read titled "'Do What You Love' Is Horrible Advice": “It’s easy to confuse a hobby or interest for a profound passion that will result in career and business fulfillment. The reality is, that type of preexisting passion is rarely valuable.”

Um…no.

The 52 Week Photography and Business Challenge

Remember when I wrote "Dear New Photographer..." a few months ago? One of the big points I emphasized was valuing your photography and business skills.

Every year, on New Year's Day, the Internet is swarming with shiny new 52 Week Projects or 365 Week Projects directed specifically to photographers. And don't get me wrong -- I love these projects! The idea behind them is to get people shooting more, and shooting more outside their own comfort zone.

10 Photography Resolutions for the New Year

I love New Year’s. Halloween, Christmas and National Cat Day (obviously) are high on my list too, but New Year’s holds a special weight for me. It’s the resolutions that I’m so addicted to.

I love making them. I love hearing them. The idea of a clean slate, filled in with good intentions and exciting possibilities just makes me bubble with anticipation. Yes, I realize I sound like a delirious 12-year old, but my entire personality is a bit like a delirious 12-year old…plus the New Year is here and I’m all sorts of giddy!

What Makes a Great Photograph? A Bit of Thanksgiving Encouragement

Despite the video's title, the short, encouraging snippet above from photographer Joel Grimes isn't about finding a specific set of characteristics that define "a great photograph." Instead, it's about finding out what a great photograph is to you.

It's a matter of taste, discovering your personal vision, and then coming to terms with the fact that not everybody is going to love what you do.

10 No-Nonsense Tips On How to Become a Better Photographer

If you've been dreaming of making photography your full-time occupation, photographer Scott Robert Lim has some no-nonsense, sugar-free advice on what it takes to become, not just a better photographer, but a great photographer who can compete in the landscape today.

Sports Photographer Receives Well-Wishes from Athletes World-Wide After Accident

@chadders_dm special thanks to @FAMediaOps #gwsMarc they win the prize no question pic.twitter.com/ueDxKB2HgQ
— Dickie Pelham (@DickiePelham) June 13, 2014

On the tenth of April, The Times chief sports photographer Marc Aspland was in a terrible car accident. The crash, which occurred in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, left him with brain hemorrhaging, nerve damage and two broken collarbones.

It was these injuries that led to Aspland missing out on two of the world’s largest sporting events, Wimbledon and the World Cup. But after news of the photographer unable to make it to these events spread about, a number of athletes started to team up to send support his way. Using the hashtag #gwsmarc (get well soon, Marc), a number of well-known tennis, cricket and football athletes have teamed up to show their support.

The Photography Teacher Nobody Wants

There is a teacher of photography that few speak of in today’s industry. She is shunned by many and with good reason.

Nobody seems to like her.

Your First 10,000 Photographs May Include Some of Your Best

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

This sage advice is from perhaps the most influential photographer and art philosopher in the history of photography. I see this quote at least once a week on social media, but I only recently began to mull it over in any great depth. Let’s use it as a talking point to discuss artistic development in photography.

Conquering Creative Burnout: Put Down the Camera

Whether you are an amateur photographer or a professional photographer, there will come a time when you are simply burned out. Periods of your photographic life where just the idea of picking up your camera is exhausting.

Creatives of all types face these challenging times, and they can be both daunting and scary. It can feel like your passion may no longer be your passion or, for the professional photographer, it can impact your life in a financial or business manner.

Fear Is Not Real: Fight the Photogra-Fear

I'm not gonna lie; I was worried.

I sat in the movie theater with my box of buttered jalapeno popcorn (Jalapeno popcorn is created by tipping the container of jalapenos found in the condiment area onto your popcorn. They provide them for your nachos and hot dogs, but it is a shame not to use them on your popcorn. It is delicious and I highly recommend it. You will thank me for this.) I furrowed my brow with nervous anticipation, for this was no ordinary movie; I was awaiting the start of M. Night Shyamalan's "After Earth."