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Shoot what you love, and you will shoot forever

If you are a commercial photographer who produces work that no one likes then you have a problem, if you are an enthusiast photographer who produces work that nobody likes then tough! A photographer once counseled, "Choose your critics wisely". This can be interpreted as: if no one likes what you do maybe you are showing your photos to the wrong people. For example, many people hate HDR Photography but some people love it. Which ones should you show your HDR Shots to?

A creative photograph simply cannot be shot by a committee, it can only be captured by an individual, one with a view, with a sense of what they like and do not like. When that sense is a little vague it can be easily quashed by a negative reaction. The more people you ask to judge any photo the more varied opinions you will receive. The problem is that we crave feedback, we shoot to connect with the viewer so it is easy to be influenced others, no matter what their experiences or agenda is. The real danger with seeking opinions of people who do not get it is that it can be disheartening to receive negative feedback, and so it is all too easy to stop shooting topics that are getting negative or no reaction.

Abandoned Farmhouse and Chevy Truck, Ellsworth, Kansas

The problem is that most of us are not in a photography peer group. If, for example, when discussing a new lens you would like to get, if all eyes go to heaven you're not in a photography peer group! So what to do? Well, joining a camera club can be help; or even better, taking a photography workshop, either online or in a classroom, can concentrate your learning into more manageable time chunks.And probably the best piece of advice we can give you is to go with your gut instinct, if it feels right, then it probably is, regardless of what others say.

Our own Principal, Dave McKane, has long experience of this dynamic. Although he had no commercial interest in a particular project of abandoned farmhouses in Kansas, he received a lot of pushback for his use of HDR. Some of this was based around his ‘breaking of the rules’ or ‘I don’t like it, so you shouldn’t do it that way’ or even ‘Hdr isn’t real photography’.

Abandoned Farmhouse, Dodge City, Kansas

Despite all of the resistance, Dave never heard a convincing argument as to why he should not follow this project, and now, after a 5-year project, is ready to write a book and shoot a documentary about both the project, and the process behind it. He has over 60 images that he is extremely proud of, and while there are many who enjoy the project, there were a significant number of voices along the way that would have preferred this project not to have been completed. He even had a double page spread in a major photography magazine!

Dave decided to choose his critics wisely, and only listened to those with credibility, and who were not simply trying to deliver a hidden agenda. He found what he loves to shoot, and that is what keeps him shooting.

All of the photos from his 'Ghost Houses of the Prairies Project' can be found at this link.


Photography Tips


Early on in our photography we can be reluctant to invest in a lot of gear that we know little about. This makes sense, of course, why spend money on equipment that we might only use once or twice, and then pack away? When it comes to certain techniques, such as blurring water, you may already have what you need!

In this tip Dave talks about how you can drop your shutter speeds more than normal so you can blur water even in bright light.

The full list and schedule of our Online Photography & Software Courses is available at this link.


Do you really need Photoshop?

Everyone has heard of Photoshop and most are aware that it only comes with something called 'The Cloud', where you commit to paying for it forever. But Photoshop is just one of a number of programmes in a category called "Image Editors", though it is the 900 pound gorilla in its group. When we were reviewing our "Photoshop for Beginners" course we came up with some interesting findings:

  • The majority of amateur photographers do not have photoshop (too expensive)
  • Many Photoshop users are stuck on a version at least 3 versions old and so can't take advantage of new features
  • Many Photoshop users are completely overwhelmed by the fact that the programme has 15 different ways to do the same thing (OK, we made that one up, but it is not far from the truth!!)
Elements has almost everything photographers need

A less talked about programme is the little sister of Photoshop called "Photoshop Elements". When we wanted to update our old "Photoshop for Beginners Course" to include Elements, we found that we only had to drop 2 or 3 items which that program was not capable of doing.More good news is that Elements is available for $60/€66/£52 as a special until the end of November! Now we call that a no-brainer!

Why not take your photography to the next level and try it out. A fully functional 30 day free trials are available from Adobe here, if you do not already have an Adobe ID, you just have to create one (it takes only a few minutes).

We will be launching our own Photoshop/Elements Level 1 Online Course will be launching in January, and you get great deals on that course right now! Click here for details.


Online Photography & Software Courses

This month, we start launching our Online Photography and Software courses. All of these courses have been tested and refined in a classroom setting, meaning we know, for sure, how much content to deliver, at the appropriate level, and in the right amounts. And it all comes with our trademark smile :)

Our full list of Online Photography & Software Courses, with launch dates, can be found at this link.

The early morning winter commute catches the sun!

The Final Word…

Sunrise is not too early now!

Dawn is now at a much more sociable time, why not consider getting up a little earlier and getting a sunrise for your portfolio?

Changing our routines can be hard to do, so why not consider bringing your camera to work with you? If sunrise is early enough to allow you to shoot it, AND get into work on time, surely that is a win/win, one which could result in a very special shot, a shot you would normally not have the time to do?

Go on, you know you want to!

Happy shooting!


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