Downtown Dayton, OH

You are asked to do a photo shoot in a particular environment, and you haven’t a clue where to find the right place. This is where scouting comes in. You should be scouting locations wherever you go.

My youngest daughter and I love to go on ‘rambles’. We just pack up our cameras, pick a direction, and go. Sometimes we might have an idea of a destination; often we don’t. What we are doing is finding places we might use in the future and filing them away.

The opportunity to capture something doesn’t have to be with photography in mind either. A while back I was downtown for a meeting. I passed this wall and thought how much character it had. I took a quick picture with my cellphone and filed it away labeling its location. At some point if someone asks about an old wall, I will have this.

Always have that photographers’ eye. Wherever you go use it as a scouting opportunity. You never know when it will come in handy.

I thought I might devote today’s blog to getting to know me now. One of the biggest reasons for starting this new blog can be found under Hacks in the navigation menu. A few years back I started to develop pain in my left foot. As the bulk of my photography was event and travel, this became more and more of an issue. I did my last event at Christmas 2018, and the only travel was a trip to Florida in February, and Buffalo NY in March. So, time to get the foot fixed.

But what to do now? Fortunately, my business also includes graphic/web design which I can continue to do. But I have a camera, and a desire to shoot. I can’t get out much. I have enjoyed macro photography in the past, as well as setting up indoor shoots. Things like memorabilia – weddings, first baby, family heirlooms etc. This can be great fun, but it is hard to get it all set up on one foot. I decided to use this time to learn. I have a variety of courses through National Geographic, so I started re-watching them. In doing that I realized again how far and fast technology is changing.

So, here is one of my pet peeves, companies moving to the cloud, and not supporting older software. I started with Adobe Creative Suite 3 in 2007. I took courses, watched videos, and got pretty proficient at Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. I used Camera Raw and Bridge and was very happy with it, and still work with CS5/6 today. I have a network in my house, so managing my photos was an easy thing. Then Lightroom came about. I resisted for quite a while, but finally got a free copy of Lightroom 5 with a camera purchase. I still hate the way the libraries work, having to import everything, but it is a great editor. I now have Lightroom 6, and refuse to move to CC. I have Luminar and On1 as well, so eventually I will get away from Lightroom.

You might ask why I refuse to move to Lightroom CC. I will not do anything that relies on the Cloud. For some it is a perfect solution. For me it is a personal preference. It is just not conducive with the way I work, and the setup I have. During the next few weeks of recovery I will be learning more about Luminar and On1, playing with photos I have already taken. Don’t we all have some folders of photos we took and never processed? I know I do 😊

As a photographer you can NEVER stop learning. This is true in a lot of professions. You would never want your surgeon to hold onto techniques from the dark ages as medical science keeps moving forward. Now I’m no doctor, but I do want to be the best at my craft that I can be. So here are a few thoughts to ponder:

  • Try new things – don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone.
    Street photography has never been my thing, but I went to NYC with my cousins and tried. Still not my thing, but it taught me to appreciate how hard it is.
  • Ask for Constructive Criticism – and take it with grace and gratitude. 
    Do not take offense – learn from it. It is never easy to hear criticism of your work. Remember you can only get better with the input given.
  • Put your ego away – there is nothing worse than a photographer snob.
    And I have known some doozies! You will look at their work and wonder how can they not see what you (and everyone else) sees? 
  • Learn editing restraint. When using sliders to edit, pick your number, and then back off a little.
    There is nothing worse than over-saturation or clarity! Other photographers know the tricks, so don’t try to say you didn’t, when we can obviously see you did.
  • Remember, Art is subjective. What one person loves, another may not –
    When you ask for constructive criticism you may get some critiques you don’t agree with, or they might be totally wrong. Even the best of photographers might not see your concept (refer back to bullet #two).
Try new things. Playing with new toys.
When I was no longer able to be on my feet for long periods of time. I turned my camera towards the things around me. Macro photography can be a lot of fun!