Skip to main content

Learning from the pros takes work

The wonderful thing about the internet is the vast amount of information there is for learning. Many of those sources are available for FREE! From blogs to videos and online schools. The best thing is that many of these are maintained by working professionals with incredible reputations.

Bryan Peterson
Off the top of my head I can name half a dozen pro photographers that most members in my photo club recognize; Dave Hobby, Joe McNally, Rick Sammon, Chase Jarvis, Bryan Peterson, Scott Kelby... the list goes on. I also find that everyone has their favorites. But if you stop and think about it, these are professional photographers with vast amounts of knowledge, incredible reputations, endless creativity and still find the time to share all that with us on many free platforms.

David Hobby has one of the best rated photography blogs; Strobist. He went from a staff photographer at a struggling newspaper to an international sensation teaching novices how to light using inexpensive speed-lights. Photo suppliers have even name products after him.

Scott Kelby
Scott Kelby is a well know photographer and noted author who somehow finds the time to maintain blogs at and on Google+, produce a television show at called "The Grid", run an online school and do lecture tours.

Joe McNally, Bryan Peterson, Chase Jarvis, Rick Sammon and hundreds more maintain their reputation through hard work. They have successfully branded themselves to the point that their names alone are synonymous with quality, accessible education. All that takes an enormous amount of work. And that in itself is the point of this post.

What separate these pros from so many countless "accomplished" photographers is not in their skill. Browse through, Zenfolio, Flickr and other online photo hubs and you'll see the works of many really great photographers. No, it is not skill alone. These guys are where they are because they push the envelope. They do what others don't feel like doing. They get up early to get that perfect shot and stay up late writing, editing and filming. Of course many of these have built up a business and have assistants, but that just reenforces my point. They do what needs to be done.

Chase Jarvis
Now I understand we all can't be a Scott Kelby or Chase Jarvis. Heck, many of us could care less and are content being an advanced hobbyist. That doesn't mean you can't take an example from these guys and putting forth some effort to push yourself in you hobby. Get up early to catch that great light. Travel a little further to get that great landscape. Network a bit more to get that great model in front of your lens. If nothing else, push yourself to get out of the 'snap-shooter' mentality and into thinking more like a pro. You don't have to be a working pro to shoot like a pro. All you need is the discipline of one and that is attainable.

Food for thought...


Most Popular Posts

Large DIY Diffusion Scrim

One of the most commonly used tools in my photographic arsenal is the all purpose diffusion screen . I use it to soften light, create gradients and light fields or as a background. One of my current favorites is a metal framed 4' x 4' foot scrim with thick white artificial silk made by Matthews. I didn't think I would use it so much, being so large, but having borrowed it from a friend I really came to love it. The downside for me is the price. At just over $100 I couldn't really justify the cost, considering I want at least two of them. Time for a DIY alternative.

Observations on composition - Pieter Bruegel

In this article I am reprinting a critique I published on regarding the painting entitled ' Census at Bethlehem ' by famed painter Pieter Bruegel , who was born in what is now the Netherlands in the 1520s. The first point I would like to say is that you first need to consider both the medium and the time frame of this painting. Being a painting, the artist has a certain advantage of being able to carefully direct the large amount of content presented to the viewer, unlike, say, a photo of opportunity of the street photographer (I strongly believe Pieter would have been the 'street photographer' of his time). Even a studio photographer, with the luxury of space and time, would have a hard time justifying creating such a complex composition. Where you would see this type of visual composition today would be in modern cinema. In particular, period pieces that rely on background elements to "sell the era" .  Secondly, the era in which thi

Don Julio - Hero Shot

For starters, a hero shot is one in which the product is showcased in all its splendor. Careful attention is placed on making the product look its very best. For this shot of Don Julio I knew I wanted to give the bottle some majesty by photographing it from a low angle. That low angle makes the bottle look tall, towering over the viewer and creating a position of dominance. Can't you hear the choir of angels singing in the background? I also knew that I wanted a rich, moody image with lots of darks. I am partial to darker images, which is surprising to most people because the majority of the work I do are images on white backgrounds. But that's another story. I also tried a lifestyle type shot with glasses and lime slices but I wasn't feeling it and ended up scrapping it. Again, that's another story.

Who Cares About Your Business

October marks the beginning of the holiday season with Halloween at the end of the month. Seasonal items are being shuffled around and soon Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah will be upon us. Personally, I have been busy preparing for the cold weather and analyzing how to move forward into the new year. This got me thinking about many things; rescaling my marketing, updating my prices, expanding my services… you know, all the regular business stuff. It also got me thinking about my customers... actually, the customers I don’t have. What can I do to help them find me? Then it hit me, if they did find me, why would they care?  This month’s newsletter is about ways of connecting to customers in today’s age of information.