Shoot, shoot and shoot some more
That's a phrase I keep telling myself over and over. I've got a day job, a home to maintain, a child to parent and all of the usual life distractions. I have a general idea what I want/need to do to hone my photography skills and know that I have to practice shooting regularly in order to be the photographer I want to be if I expect to eek out a living from it.
Some of this practice comes along with my regular routine. My son has recently taken up Lacrosse, so I've been shooting his practices and games. I don't plan on becoming a big sports shooter or play one on TV, but sports photography is all about adjusting for slow and fast moving subjects at a distance, adapting to constantly changing light, dealing with limited vantage points, etc. My practice here should improve my wildlife photography. I'll put that theory to the test in the coming weeks at the migratory bird season is now here.
Denise has photo and video requirements with her growing ventures too, so I've recently flipped my Nikon to movie mode for the first time and dusted off an old copy of Adobe Premier Elements to do some basic editing. She's got a lot of ideas for content and I can already tell I need to come up with creative ways to get better audio.
I also need to work on my portraiture skills, landscapes, post processing, and on and on. So, I'm leveraging social media to connect with models, meet with fellow photogs, get inspiration and learn new tips and tricks. I've hosted a few events which has not only given me shooting practice and editing fodder, but is also a great networking opportunity. Weekly photo challenges are a great way to try something new with photography and I'm trying to keep up with two of them at the moment. I'm not always successful, but I always try, I work the images and submit for constructive comments. The photo community is great for helping you see your images from another perspective, identifying issues you might not have even realized, advise on how to correct difficiencies, move in different creative ways and a provide a bit of praise when you turn out something worthwhile.
I'm spending a lot of time thinking about where the business and art of photography is going in the coming years. If I work to simply emulate the currently successful photographers out there I'm going to fail. Digital still images themselves are such a disposable commodity - everyone has a smartphone with "Instagratification" built in so appreciation for a well taken, well processed digital image is waning. Pro photographers are going to have to evolve to either become a service/experience provider or find a niche that won't become a commodity like the still image has. Pro togs will need to shift toward exotic landscape, artistic video clips, etc. I'm not sure yet how I'm going to differentiate myself, but watching the trends and continuing to create in new and different ways will help me be prepared for that direction when I see it.
Finally this week - I've turned on the comments feature for this blog series so I hope you'll share your own ideas and experiences.