My Photography Struggles

So, every photographer has struggled with an area or areas of their work.  Someone who says otherwise is only fooling themselves.  We are human and we cannot be perfect at everything.  I know I struggle with a lot of things.  I have never formally been trained as a photographer.  Everything I know to do I have learned on my own either by training myself or by accident.  However, there are some areas that I still struggle with and may always struggle with.  Two of the biggest areas I struggle with are Black and White photography, and portrait sessions.

You would think Black and White Photography would be easy.  Just point and shot, right?  That is not the case.  You are dealing with a limited amount of color.  You need to make sure the scene you are taking the photo for would be a good candidate.  The contrast between black and white is very important.  My problem is I cannot envision it.  I have a hard time seeing past the color and what it would look like in Black and White.  People who accel at this form of art can see it the moment they lay their eyes on it, and maybe in the future, once I have more practice I can too.  But that is a very big Maybe.  I have already decided that this may not be an area I will ever truly be good at.  Now don’t get me wrong I do have a few good Black and White Photos.  One of my favorite black and white photos is a glass hummingbird hanging from a pine tree in the winter.  Now as you can expect there was not a lot of color for that scene, and I could tell this would be a good image for black and white.  Others, I have experimented with in Photoshop to see if they would be good as black and white.  But that was not the main intent when I was taking the photograph.  I had read a blog about a photographer who takes photos of buildings.  People asked him why they were always in black and white and not color photos.  His answer was why, take color photos of something that is already black and white.  That made a lot of sense to me, why make something it is not already.  Now in these instances, if I notice most of the colors in the photo are already black and white say a rock cropping then I take it in black and white.  Now say there were colorful flowers around it the contract between the flowers, and the black and white rocks would make me take the photo in color.   This is something I would love to find a local class on and see if I could improve my talent.

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So, most people ask me when they see my photographs do you do portraits?  I always answer no, I am an introvert at heart, people scare me and make me nervous.  But doing a portrait session stress me out, and is not fun.  Photography for me is fun and a stress relief so why would I want to do anything that changes that?  I did do one session this fall, with a friend and her kids.  The photos turned out well, but I told her ahead of time.  You come up with the poses and scenes you want and I will take the pictures.  I did offer a few suggestions and changes some of them up so that the photographs turned out better.   These kinds of sessions are not so bad, but if someone was paying me to do it I would be nervous as heck.  I do know one thing weddings are out.  I don’t mind taking pictures if I am a guest at the wedding I don’t feel the need to make sure I get a photograph of everything.  But it would bother me to be paid for it, I would be extremely afraid that I would miss that one photograph that they wanted.  It is not like you can do it again like a portrait session.  The struggle in this area is not so much the talent of doing it as it is the fear of doing it.  This is something I probably struggle with no matter how much I do it, and since I don’t find it fun I will probably never do portrait sessions except for close friends and family.

I would love to hear from you, comment on what your struggles you have with photography.

Why Photography?

So, a lot of people probably wonder why some choose to do photography.  They do not see the fun or enjoyment in it.  To most it is mundane and they only take photos to capture the one moment.  Other people could care less if they took photographs but love looking at them from others.    I guess there are many reasons for some it is for an income, hobby, and art.  Some people may fall in between different reasons.

My reason for photography is a mix in between hobby and art.  I love just going out and taking pictures.  Some I keep others I delete.  To me, it is a good stress relief.  I am focused on something else and not on my worries and fears.  I am looking for the best shot or shots of the day, something unique, something I can tell a story about.  There is nothing better than going out with friends, family, or by yourself and finding new things.  Taking the photographs of my trips helps me remember the good times, especially when times may be hard.  Looking a photo from my past helps bring a smile to my face.    Getting out and just walking, talking, and enjoying myself is great.  But when I see something I want to take a picture of I get this rush.  I guess you may be able to compare it to when someone finds a great deal at the store.  Except this one is way cheaper.  At that time, I am focused on capturing it at the right angle, lighting, and speed.  Sometimes even trying out new ways of capturing the image.  Things I have read about online.  I have recently been working on my Waterfall Shots.  I take a shot with a high shutter speed, and then one with a slower shutter speed.  The slower speed smooths the water where the high speed you can see a lot of the individual water drops.  I find myself reading blogs from other photographers who offer suggestions for new ways to take photos.  Some are harder than others but you find it challenging and when you can reproduce it you feel like you won the lottery.

As mentioned in the previous post I have started selling my photos at Craft and Art Shows in my local area.  The best part of the event for me is getting to talk to someone and tell them where the photo was taken and the story behind the photo.  Seeing them connect with the photo even if they don’t take it makes me feel good.  I do find it funny that I remember taking each photo and something about that day.  You would think after taking thousands of photographs since 2007 that would not be the case.  Guess that brings a whole new meaning to a photographic memory.

Today, we do not get to interact with each other so much.  We have online interactions but not person to person.  I have had 15-30 minute conversations with one person at my table.  Me telling them about each photo they have questions about and them telling me stories about their past or where they like to go to take pictures.   That connection the person makes with your photo is like a connect a person makes with a painting.  But they are also making a connect with me too.  I may never see them again, but it will be a memory that both of us have.

So, what are your reasons for photography?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

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State Route 73 Tucker County WV

Okay, so this is going to be my first blog. A new year and new beginnings. So with that said let’s get into the subject above. So beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just because you think that it is the most beautiful thing does not mean that other people will.

This has been hard for me to grasp as it seems like when someone does not like something you do it makes your feel that you are being attacked. This is not the case, everyone does not have to like things that you do. That is what makes of human you know Free Will and all. I try not to take it personal, which is hard when your work is being critiqued.

This past year I took a leap of faith and started to participate in local Craft and Art Fairs. This is a blog in itself which will be later on down the line. However, I have had to deal with knowing that not everyone likes my photos. Oh sure I get a lot of, those are beautiful and a lot of you do a great job. However, I get just as many people looking at them and walking away with that look on their face that you know none of them moved them at all.

However, once you jump this hurdle and you no longer have an issue with it, you will be in a much better place. Now don’t get me wrong some comments still hurt and are quick to anger you. Of course, you have to put a smile on your face and act like it doesn’t affect you at all. The one comment that still bothers me today was when someone told me I needed to focus a picture in a little bit better. One photo out of the hundreds I had there and their only comment was that one. I had debated even including it but I did because I thought maybe someone might like it. Just because I don’t doesn’t mean someone won’t.

Most of my sales have been from photos I didn’t even personally like. Which goes with the subject of today’s blog. Just because you love it doesn’t mean someone else will and one you might not like others may. You just never know. I have seen tears come to one woman’s eyes when she saw a picture of a stream I took. It reminded her of a stream near her and her deceased husband’s cabin. Did I like the picture not really but she did. It stirred good memories of past times. I got to tell my story of taking the photo and I got to hear a story from her. It is those interactions which help minimize the negativity and make me want to have the same reaction in other people. To me, I am not trying to sell a photo. I am trying to sell a memory that others can connect with their own experiences.