Photo of The Day: Catching the Moment

*Warning! Photography Rant Incoming!* I don't have to tell you how cliche certain phrases in photography are. Here is a list of the worst in my opinion:

  • "Sharing Precious Memories"
  • "Capturing Life"
  • "Painting With Light"
  • "Preserving the Essence of the moment" (whatever that means)

Anyway, it's not that these terms are incorrect, those are the job of a photographer, it is just the goofy ways we try to put what we do into words. You can describe a meal with all these amazing adjectives that will have my mouth watering by the time you are done, but by the standard I see today through newer photographers marketing themselves, you cannot do the same thing for your photography. Photography is art, its subjective and no one will like every image you take; that is a fact. Be proud of your work, and only show the photos that are your best. If your picture tells a story, you HAVE to tell that story WITH your portfolio. If one image you absolutely love because you know the story behind it, doesn't stand on it's own, I personally don't think it should be in your portfolio for people to see without a conversation; story telling with a photograph is what blogs are for. If I have a pile of candid shots of kids from family shoots, and that's what the family wants then of course that is what I will show them (that is the subjective nature of the art we produce).

Righty-O, on to the photo: Sam-1

This is a perfect example of a subjective photo. This is my nephew on Easter Sunday. He was all dressed up and was just the cutest little dude, but he was getting a little tired of all the clothes. He pulled at his collar and tie, ran his hands through his hair and insisted that we play some basketball with him. well as I was walking with him back inside, I just turned my camera on, slung it out in front of him and took a photo, He was so intrigued by something on the ground, deep in thought as he was pondering the existence of something splayed across the lawn on such a beautiful day. Is this the sharpest photo I have ever taken? Not even close. Is the composition the best it could be? No way, but what this photo represents is a memory to his family of him running around being the sweet little genius boy that he is. This is not a photo for my portfolio, but a photo that will mean something to his mother. That's what we do with photography, we use our elements: light, timing, emotion, and just a little luck to find and capture what will mean something to our client. Always practice, try to think differently and for the love of God find a new way to describe what you do if you are using any of the above or something similar.


5 Reasons Why You Should Join a Photo Group.

With everyone already in the new year swing of things, the new has worn off and sometimes you feel a little sluggish trying to move forward with your photo projects. I know myself, I couldn't even pretend to commit to a Photo a Day project because I knew I would never keep up with it. I know I know, if I never put forth effort to maintain a project I will never fulfill one, but one of my resolutions of 2013 was to create and continually post on my blog and here you are reading it! #1) MOTIVATION The largest part of this feeling of losing touch with your projects comes from losing motivation and inspiration. Poets and Composers had muses, rock stars have coma inducing drugs (I don't condone the use of the drugs by the way. Terrible terrible things, they are.) and for many photographers, including myself and most likely you, our inspiration comes from our peers and their work. Not to say that we cant be inspired by our surroundings, but when you "surround" yourself with those whose surroundings are different than your own, how can you not help but be inspired by them?

#2) HONEST CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM We have all been in that situation, where you share some of your work on a photography forum. You feel so proud of your work but you know there are things that need to be fixed, but you either receive nothing or you get ripped to shreds by someone you can't even verify is a photographer. I am not saying that forums can't be helpful, but with your group mates all there sitting around a screen or a print, you will see expressions and opinions of your photo right from the start. With everyone helping with their own opinions and skill levels, you will get a more honest answer than from people you have no true connections to.

#3) FRIENDLY COMPETITION What's better than to have a photo contest with your friends? The winner could just have his meal paid for when you all meet up but knowing that you grew as an artist for the sake of doing the best you can is a very wonderful experience. The reason I think this works so well is because you all spend time trying to build each other up while strengthening yourself.

#4) SOCIAL ACTIVITY It's great to have friends that love the same thing you do. You can go shooting together, have a friend to geek out over gear with and gain a strong bond with your peers.

#5) REFERRALS This is one of the most important, if you have 5 friends that are landscape and nature photographers and someone is looking for a portrait photographer, they are much more likely to throw your name out there. From the other end of the spectrum, if you know a few wedding photographers, you have a great chance of getting second shooter jobs or assistant gigs that help pay the bills in between your National Geographic assignments.

So there you have it, photo groups. You need one, so go find one. If you can't find one, start one! Put a few ads on craigslist or up in your university. You will be surprised by some of the replies, you receive. There are many people out there who love taking photos and who are looking to get better. So get out there and get some photo friends!