The power of collaboration

When I first started thinking of doing photography as a business, I was fortunate enough to meet a person that introduced me to the power of collaboration. This individual ask me what I needed to get my business going, I told him that I needed a website. He responded that he could help with that, as well as other aspects of the business we would need.  And all he was asking for in return was my story. Of course I accepted and Double RR Photography was born, and I was beginning to really understand just what the power of collaboration could do for my business.

Now let’s get something straight; to make this, or any, collaboration work all parties involved must bring something of value to the table. It really doesn’t hurt that the people I am collaborating with run a printing shop, which means I was able to not only get my website hosted, but I am able to get business cards printed and even have a place in their shop where I can display some of my work. What I bring to the table is the knowledge of my craft, and most importantly is the high quality of my work. If I didn’t have a quality product the collaboration would never have happened.

For a collaboration to work everyone involved must bring something of value to the table. As a photographer how can you tell if your work is a quality product? One thing to look at is where is your praise is coming from? Is your praise coming from your friends on Facebook or from your clients? If your praise is coming from Facebook or from other people who might not know what a quality photograph looks like; than the praise you are receiving might not be a good source to gauge the value of your work. Now if the praise you are getting is coming from more experienced photographers, in other words people who know the difference between a snapshot and fine art, then this is a good indicator that you are producing quality work.

In almost every industry people tend to make sure that they have a quality product before they start thinking about going into business. Photography; however, seems to have the trend that people only have to think that they have a quality product before starting a business. I have seen a lot of photographers charging professional prices, like $200 or more, for a portrait session and they are only producing snapshots, they produce photos that anyone can take. For further information in this area see my other posts, “Know the difference between fine art and a snap shot photo and be able to explain why, The How, What, and Why of Photography, Standards and Vision, and The how and why of critiquing.

Remember that for a collaboration to work everyone must bring something of value to the table. A photographer must have a quality product and a clear plan in what they add to the collaboration. As my friend and fellow collaborator is fond of saying “The lone ranger is dead and we need to leave him that way.” Can we do it by ourselves, yes we can, but collaborating with others makes everyone’s lives a whole lot easier.

Critiquing 102

I have recently joined a group on social media where a lot of people will post their work and are looking for critiques on that work. Let me state that on social media you will probably not receive the type of critique you really need if you want to improve your photography skills. In my area there is a photography group that has held group critique sessions and at one of this group critique sessions a friend of mine came and brought one of his photos. Now this friend is someone who makes his living as a photographer which means he is a professional. Well this group of hobbyist photographers looked at his image and was giving suggestions on what other shots he should have taken as well as the one he was showing; they were not critiquing the photo they were looking at. Later my friend told me he had taken all of the other photos but he was only supposed to bring one photo to the critique session, so he brought only one.

I am not saying that group critique sessions are all bad or that you will never receive a proper critique on social media; what I am saying is that you need to be aware of who will be giving the critique. To get a; for lack of another term; “constructive” critique you need to find someone who is an expert and who you trust to give you an honest look. If everyone is always telling you that everything looks great then you are never going to improve. When a qualified person gives a critique they will not only tell you what they feel is wrong but give suggestions on how to fix it. If you really want to improve seek out the artists that you feel are better then you and get them to critique your work and most of those people will not critique over social media; they have an image to protect and they probably will not risk their image by getting in a debate on social media. I believe every artist can improve through a good critique session.  The trick is whether or not you want to improve by going to the right person or persons and only you can make that decision.

The how and why of critiquing

One aspect of being an artist is the art of giving and receiving critiques; one thing that every artist should be able to do, if they really want to improve, and yet it is one thing that no one wants to do. Merriam-Webster defines critique as; a careful judgment in which you give your opinion about the good and bad parts of something (such as a piece of writing or a work of art). (Critique. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved November 24, 2013, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/critique)

One key phrase in the definition is, “a careful judgment.” When critiquing we must be careful with who we critique, when we critique and especially what we say. We must be careful who we critique because not everyone is looking to be critiqued. There are those people who are content with their current photography skill level. I have found that the people who are looking to be critiqued are those photographers that are really looking to improve and grow their skills.

We must be careful when we are critiquing because unwanted critiques can put people on the defensive because they are not prepared to receive a critique at that time. When someone is not prepared for a critique you can be doing more harm than good when you present your opinion about their work. We must be careful what we say in a critique. In a critique it is not enough to say the photo is bad, good, or that we like it or not.  We have to identify what is bad or good in the photo and identify why it is either bad or good; in other words we need be able to put it into words. For example; if we like the lighting in a photo we need to ask ourselves; what is it about the lighting that we like? What does that lighting do for the photo? These are only a couple of questions we should be asking ourselves.

What I have found is that the one thing I have had to teach myself is to slow down and really look at a photo.  It is only if we slow down and carefully examine a photo are we are going to be able to really pick out what works and what doesn’t in any given photograph.  It is only when we slowdown that we can pick out what is good or bad in a photography, only then can we translate what we see into words.

If we want to be able to critique the works of others we must be willing to have our work critiqued. If we want to provide a good critique we need to know what makes a good photo, see importance of education post. If we don’t know what makes a good photography we will not be able to help anyone, even ourselves, improve. We need to educate ourselves before we critique any photo, even our own. Most importantly if we really want to improve we must be willing to have our work critiqued.

To get an accurate idea of how we are doing and what we need to improve on we need to find someone who we trust and who knows what they are doing to provide us with an honest critique. When critiquing we must be prepared for an honest opinion and it is not enough to know what is bad or good in a photograph we need to be able to explain how to fix the problems. When we are having our work critiqued we need to identify what we want critiqued. If we want help with lighting we need to be specific about that area, if we want help with composition we need to be specific that area, or if we want them to look at the image as a whole we need to be specific about that area.

So how do we prepare to have our work critiqued? That is a really good question and the answer is really very simply, you have a thick hide and always remember that what the other person says is their opinion of your work. However, it may only be their opinion but you still should evaluate it to see if they have some valid points. How do we find the people that want to be critiqued? The easiest way to find those people who want to be critiqued is they will come to you; an unwanted critique can do more harm than good. Even if someone approaches you and asks you to look at their work it does not mean they are ready for a complete opinion, we need to ask questions to find out what level of critique they want and what they want critiqued. Just like photography critiquing can be an art and what we leave out is just as important as what we tell the person.

As an artist the only way to improve is to educate ourselves and have our work be critiqued. As an artist we must be able to critique our own work, if you can’t see ways to improve your own work then you are not going to improve and you may even slide backwards a little.

To really sum up critiquing, you have to be able to put everything you see as well as your opinion into words or it does you no good. We must be able to see what needs to be improved on and a way that improvement can happen. Also remember pointing out the good parts can be a learning moment as well as pointing out the bad points of a photograph.  Critiquing is just as much about reinforcing the good as well as helping to eliminate or improve the not so good of the photograph.  Remember that critiquing is an art and before we can critique someone else we must be ready to have our work torn apart.

Permission

When I see other photographers out shooting on presumably private property I always wonder if they have permission to shoot there.

Bovine's Revenge

For this shot the barn I wanted to use was private property so; conducting myself as a professional, I found out who the owners of the property were and asked for permission before shooting. They owners were grateful that I had asked permission, they told me that there had been several times when they walked out to the barn and there were people out there taking pictures and this was an area where livestock were kept. There was another time that I really wanted to shoot in an old factory but after I contacted the owners they told me no, because of insurance reasons, they didn’t want anything to happen. So despite my desire to shoot at the old factory, I respected their choice and I have not done any shoots there.

If you are going to shoot on private property is it always professional to ask permission first and if they tell you no then respect that and shoot somewhere else. By not asking permission and not respecting the decision of the property owners you are not only showing yourself as not a professional but you are casting a bad light on all photographers.

The next item, with regards to asking permission, is to shoot on railroad tracks. Shooting on railroad tracks is illegal, it is private property and it does not matter how old the tracks are. Despite how much you want the look of the railroad tracks in your shot it’s not worth the trouble. Once again, if it is private property and you don’t have permission to shoot there then don’t do it!  If you want to be treated as professional you have a responsibility to conduct yourself as a professional.

The third area where a photographer needs to ask permission is the model release. In essence the model release is a contract. The model release tells both the model and the photographer who owns the copyright of the photographs and what the photos can be used for. I have had a model thank me for using a model release; the model release protects both the model and the photographer. If you don’t have a model release for every person in your photo you cannot post that photo anywhere, not on your blog and not on Facebook. The model release is your permission to use the photo.

Getting permission is the decent, and the professional thing to do.  Always have the model release in writing or any other permission in writing whenever possible. Two simple rules to remember; first is if it isn’t written down it never happened and the second is if you want to be treated as professional you have the responsibility to conduct yourself as a professional.

How to identify a professional photographer

Photography has been around for a long time, while the gear photographer’s use has evolved over time, the fundamentals of photography have not changed. The digital age has created a new brand of photographer. Digital photography has allowed more and more people to take up a camera and photograph the world. However, while more people are able to take up photography it does not mean that they should do photography as a business or as a professional.

This brings up the question, just how can you spot a professional photographer? The first thing (and these are in no particular order), to look for in a professional photographer is their website. Do they actually have their own website or do they only have a page on Facebook? You should never have to log in to see an artist’s portfolio. A professional will have their own website, they can still have a Facebook page for their business; however, the purpose of the Facebook page will be to direct traffic to their website.

One point to remember is that not all websites are created equal. I have seen some photographer’s websites that are hard to read and also not easy to navigate. A professional photographer’s website will be easy to read, easy to navigate, and their message will be clear.

Another thing to look at when selecting a professional photographer is their Facebook activity. A professional photographer will not critique on Facebook, they have an image to protect. Critiquing is a personal thing that needs to be handled one on one to really be effective. A professional photographer might comment on Facebook but they will not comment on everything, once again the professional has an image to protect.

Now that you have looked at and critiqued the photographer’s website and social media it is now time to look at their pictures. It should go without saying that you should look closely at their work. One thing to look for is where they pose the people in their portraits. Simply, a professional photographer will not pose a family in the bedroom, I have seen this done; can we all say “Bad Taste.” There are some lines that photographers should never cross; a professional photographer should never pose a family in their bedroom.

The next item to look for in the photographers pictures is to look at the sky in the photos. This is my opinion but I feel that a professional photographer will never wash out the sky. When the sky is washed out it is a sign to me that the photographer did not use the correct exposure when they took the photo. Simply, if their photos look like an amateur took the photos, than it is a good bet that it was an amateur that did it; despite how well the person tries to act like a professional.

On the business side, a professional photographer will have good customer service. Before you hire a photographer ask about their customer service. Also; a professional photographer will generate a receipt, even if they are not asked for one. I read a post on Facebook about a photographer that has had a lot of clients and only recently have they been asked by the client for a receipt. This is shocking to me, and to every business owner I have talk to, because how can you think of running a business and not have a paper trail for everything. There are so many businesses that fail because the people don’t think things through.

In a photography business the photographer must wear two hats, at least. There is the artist and there is the business man. The artist is the creative side of the business, this is the person that does the enjoyable side of things and makes all the pictures. The business man is the hard nose, unbending, stingy guy that handles the money and makes all the hard decisions about prices etc. Both the photographer and the business man are usually played by the same person but the too must be kept separate. The bottom line is this; do your homework. Do some research before you hire the photographer; if you do some research you will make a more informed decision. If you don’t know what questions to ask, than that would become part of your research.

So how do you identify a professional photographer? The answer is simple; you identify the qualities that you feel make up a professional photographer and you look for photographers with those qualities.

Everyone has a role to play

There are a lot of photographers out there today and a lot of those photographers are asking questions about taking and processing photos; which is a good thing. This post is in response to one question I saw posted on Facebook. The photographer was in a low light situation and when they were processing the images they noticed a lot of noise in the photos and were wondering how they could reduce the noise. Noise is the pixilation or graininess like look in an image.

The answer to this question is to shoot the picture right in the first place. In photography; the photographer, the camera, and the software have their role to play. The photographer, camera, and software all have things they are good at and their limitations. Let’s examine the situation some more; the photographer said in their post that they were shooting at ISO 5000, high ISO means high noise. It is the photographer’s job to understand this and if they want to reduce the noise they know will be in the shot. Then they have to find a way to reduce the ISO they are shooting at and the only way I know to do that is to introduce more light. One way to introduce more light into the scene is to use an off camera flash.

To use an off camera flash the photographer needs to plan ahead and not only bring the necessary equipment but know how to use it as well. It is the job of the photographer to plan ahead and know the lighting situations they might face and to know how to use the light to their advantage. It is the job of the camera to capture the scene and it is the job of the photo editing software to bring out the vision of the photographer.

In life I am not just a photographer; I am also a software developer. A software developer is the person that builds the programs you use on the computer and because of this background I have an understanding of how software works but also how it is made; which translates into an understanding of the limitations of software. Photography editing software can do a lot of things; it is downright amazing what you can do with the current set of editing software; however the software cannot reduce the noise created by using high ISO and still make the shot look normal.

We all have our role to play and it is the responsibility of the photographer to educate themselves on the proper way to shoot in any given lighting situation. I am not saying you have to be an expert in everything; what I am saying is that you should plan for the lighting conditions you might encounter on your photo shoot and know something about how to overcome any lighting challenges.

The Importance of Education

I have a friend and fellow photographer that is fond of saying “Photography is a hobby, that all it takes is money.” To me that means if you spend enough money on equipment then you will get world class pictures. I have seen other photographers really take this to heat, I have seen photographers carry more gear everyday then some professionals carry on a photo shoot. Fortunately for I don’t have extra money to spend on gear, this fact has also really helped control my GAS, or Gear Acquisition Syndrome. My lack of extra money has also helped fuel my need to find inexpensive ways of educated myself about photography, free is always good.

My experience has shown me that it is not about how much money you spend but how much you educate yourself on your gear and about photography. My experience has also taught me that my friends saying should be changed to read; “Photography is an art, that all it takes is education.” Scott Robert Lim says that we should be spending as much or more on educating ourselves as we spend on all our gear. The best part is that there are free ways of getting education. One place to get high quality education about a lot of different topics, are you ready for plug, is CreativeLive. After watching one class on CrestiveLive, namely Crazy Stupid Light with Scott Robert Lim, my photography has grown by leaps and bounds.

Old Faithful

Nikon d3100, ISO 100, 20mm, f/4.0, 1/100 sec, on camera flash. This shot was done before I really started to educated myself about photography (this is what it looks like after recently redoing the editing)

Secert Agent

Nikon d5100, ISO 100, 34mm, f/11, 1/90 sec, off camera flash. This is after learning all about off camera flash from Scott Robert Lim on CreativeLive, the flash was on the left side. Behold the power of education.

As you educate yourself on techniques and you equipment you can do more with less gear.  For example Scott Robert Lim, who is a world class award winning photographer, lights everything with just flashes and his own brand of portable lights, sometimes even just a flashlight. Scott Robert Lim also indicated that he doesn’t own a tripod and the only light modifier he uses is a shoot through umbrella. Because I have educated myself I now know that I have all the gear I need to take great images.

This brings up the question, what do we need to educate ourselves about? I think that there are two main areas that our education should be focused in. The 1st is equipment, or how does your equipment work.  If you can’t use the equipment you have then you have worthless equipment.  I have seen people with a lot of gear that don’t take the time to learn how to use it, so when they show up to a photo shoot they spend all their time trying to figure out how to make their work and not shooting. Because I have educated myself I have gone and really looked at my gear and taken the time to figure out how everything works, which has also really helped to improve my photography skills.

The 2nd area we need to focus our education is what I consider the 3 main components of a photograph; the subject, the lighting and the composition. The subject; who is the star, or the hero, of the photograph? I have seen a lot of photographs where the subject of the shot is not clearly identifiable, you need to know who is the star of the shot be it human, animal, or object. The lighting; what your subject is will help determine how you will light it. To use light effectively we must understand where the light is coming from; above, the side, back, front, etc., we must also understand the quality of light we are getting, hard or soft. For example in a portrait if the background is lit more than the subject then viewers eye is drawn to the background and not to the main person which means that the person is not the hero of the shot, the background is.

Which bring us to composition, composition that big word that we all carry around that we claim to understand. Let’s be honest here I am not a master at composition. I hear you all out there saying to yourself, “If he is not a master at composition then what makes him qualified to talk about it?” I feel I am qualified to talk about this because; A, I have educated myself some about composition, and B, because I have taught myself to slow down really look at a photo and put into words what I like and what I don’t like. When we slow down and put what we are seeing into words we make a better and more lasting connection. Scott Robert Lim say that we have the main subject of our photograph and each element in that photo needs to support the main subject. We need to be aware of the rule of thirds, our foreground, middle-ground, and back-ground elements, and what is making contact with the edges of the photo. Know the rules before you break them so when you do break them that you break them artistically and intelligently.

As photographers it is part of our job to help educate our clients; however, we cannot expect our clients to know everything about photography and what makes or breaks a photograph, but we as photographers had better know. We cannot expect to teach what we do not know. If we are not educating ourselves then we are not progressing and we are also not providing the maximum value to our customers. If we are not continuing to increase the value we are providing to our clients we are cheating them, we don’t like to spend money for average quality and we should not be happy if we our quality average. This does not mean we have to find outlandish or crazy news ways to take photos. This does mean that we need to educate ourselves on our gear and about what makes a great photograph. Scott Robert Lim once told me that to overcome creative block and I think this also applies to every aspect of photography; we need to have “knowledge, need to understand world class skills so that you can feed yourself inspiration.”

When I got started in photography I felt that my work would speak for itself, that people would be able to see the difference between my work and others; however, because I have educated myself I have learned that this is not the case. I have learned the elements of a great photograph, and I have learned that there is a lot a lot to learn. If we are not learning we are not progressing. One final thought; I overheard someone say once that the hardest thing to teach in photography is the difference between a scrapbook shot and fine art. If we want to make fine art we need to know what makes it fine art and be inspired by fine art. Remember “Photography is an art that all it takes is education.”

It’s your opinion

In the last few years I have noticed a trend, more and more people are relying on others to do their thinking for them instead of having their own opinions on whatever the topic is. Opinions are helpful but can diminish your own voice.  In the art community a lot of people, both artist and lay people as well; rely on self-proclaimed experts to tell them what art is and what they should and shouldn’t like.  For example I have a friend that told me that she left decorating decisions up to her daughters because, and I am paraphrasing, it was easier to let them decide because they would speak up and voice their opinion anyway.

For me it wasn’t until I took up photography and became an artist myself that I really formed my own opinion about what art is and what I like and don’t like. I believe that every photographer should have their own definition of what art is, if you don’t define what art is to you then you will never be able to create a true work of art.

So why is it important to form your own opinion about everything; not just about art. To sum it up; having your own opinion will make you your own person and your own artist. A friend and fellow photographer once told me that he was not afraid of sharing all he knew about photography because if you put two photographers in the same spot you will get two different photographs. Your photographs are a visual representation of your opinion, what you see through your camera and in your finished photograph is a reflection of your background, your education, and the story you are trying tell; in essence your photography is colored by your opinion.

There are people out there who have the opinion that, as a photographer, you should specialize; which means that you need to focus on shooting one thing so that you can get really good at a certain type of shot. And there are those who think that you shouldn’t specialize because what you learn from one area of photography effects every other area of photography. It is my opinion that you should both specialize and not specialize. You should focus on photographing the things you like; which means you have to decide what it is that you like to shoot and why; because the more you practice correctly the better you will get. You should also not be afraid to try new things because you never know what you are going to like and yes what you learn in other areas of photography can help you create unique photographs of the things you really enjoy photographing.

A friend of mine who is a fellow artist shared an article that was the inspiration for this post. The article is entitled “Buying Original Art from Unknown Artists” by Mark Gordon Brown; (http://guides.wikinut.com/Buying-Original-Art-from-Unknown-Artists/ea-xs338/). The article starts out by pointing out a similar trend like what I pointed out at the first of this post.  The trend is that today we have developed a society where most people expect instant results and this means they also want instant art. It is important to have your own opinion about any topic, especially art, because in today’s digital world we are bombarded by images from around the world, this is a double edged sword. On the one side the digital age has given good photographers access to an ever expanding audience who can enjoy their work and on the other side all the people who think they are photographers can now share their not-so-good images with the world. In this digital age it is more important than ever that we have our own opinion.

I hear all you people out there; your saying wait I am talking about having your own opinion and yet I am quoting from an article about buying art; they are not the same thing. Well phooey on you; they are related. When you go out to purchase a piece of art to decorate your home or office with and you don’t have your own opinion about what you like or know someone that can help you out then it is more likely you are going to be sucked in by all the overpriced mass produced items that are on the market today.

I am not saying that you have to know everything about a topic to have an opinion about it. Art is one of those things, more than any other I think; that your opinion is the only one that should really matter. I mentioned self-proclaimed experts at the first; let me define that some more. To me a self-proclaimed expert is someone who for some reason or another they act like they know more about the topic and because of this they are the loudest voice in the room. For example; an art critic may not be an artist themselves they have just spent more time looking at art so they feel like they have a good grasp on art is, but we must remember that art critics are just giving you their opinion; your friends and family are just giving you their opinion. We have to make the choice on whose opinion we are going to listen to. The opinions we should be listening to are our own and sometimes those of our trusted fellow artists. In the end we must remember that when people are speaking with us about any topic everything is clouded by their opinion. If you want the best advice on creating art, ask someone who is not an artist; they know all the tricks and remember it is just their opinion.

More and more people are relying on others for their opinion, it is easier to do this but it is much more rewarding to have your own opinion and to express that opinion in a respectful manner. If you get nothing else from this please remember that the more we feel that our opinion is more valid or important then someone else’s the less valid and important our opinion becomes. When we try and push our opinion on others we are in the wrong; no matter who we are or who we think we are. Your opinion matters; to you most of all, please make it a good informed opinion.

Professionalism

One topic that I feel needs to be addressed is professionalism among photographers. What is professionalism? Merriam-Webster defines professionalism as “The conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person”(“Professionalism.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/professionalism). To put this into context, while in college I had a friend who was studying Engineering and one day I saw that he was dressed nicer then I usually saw, so I asked him about it. My friend told me if he was going to be an engineer then he should start looking like an engineer, meaning his style of dress needed to reflect his status of an engineer. As photographers if we are going to present ourselves as a professional we need to dress, act, and display the qualities of a professional.

I have heard some photographers saying things like “anything to get the shot”, it is easier to ask forgiveness then permission, and you have to take the shot because you cannot pose that moment. Yes there are moments that cannot be posed yet not all of those moments have to be photographed. A professional photographer will be able to recognize when there is an expectation of privacy and respect of people and places by not taking the shot.  Part of being a professional is cultivating good relationships with your subjects and if that relationship starts off with you apologizing for doing something they didn’t want you to do.  Then you are not building a professional relationship.

A professional will always get permission. There was a photo I wanted to do and I found the location that I wanted to use. (insert bovine’s revenge) The barn is on private property, so being a professional I found the owners and asked permission to use their property. The result was the owners were grateful and impressed that I would ask permission and not just hop the fence and shoot. They told me that they could not count how many times they found people using their property with no regard that it was private property. Another experience I had was with a location that I would have gotten some great pictures there. So I found out who the owners of the property was and I was told no. As a professional I am going to respect that and not shoot there, no matter how much I want to.

Another experience I have had is I was photographing at a location with my local photography club.  One member said he had been there several times with no problem. Yet while we were there the cops showed up and informed us that we were not supposed to be there.  It was a location with a lot of graffiti so it was good thing that we were just a bunch of photographers and not kids with spray paint.

A professional is going to ask permission because it builds a good relationship. And with that good relationship the owners of the property will allow you to go back to that place and they may even give you greater access that they might not give someone else. A professional is going to respect people who tell them no and go to plan B.  A professional is going to respect when someone in authority tells them that they are not supposed to be there and leave when asked to and respect that that location is now off limits.

The photographers that say, it is easier to ask forgiveness then permission, make it worse on those of us who are trying to be professional. They are making it worse because people are judging all other photographers from their example. The anything to get the shot philosophy is the paparazzi mentality and it puts all other photographers in a bad light, it is an unprofessional way of thinking.  If you want to be treated like a professional you need to act like a professional. The more we act like a professional the greater respect people will have for both us as people and for our art.

My Story

For me the definition of photography is; “Photography is a visual means of telling a story and preserving memories”. This is the story of finding my passion and putting myself on the journey to succeeding at that passion.

Several years ago I purchased a new computer and I had the option of getting a digital camera with the computer; that camera was a 3.2 Mega Pixel Kodak EasyShare. This was my introduction into digital photography. I thought this camera was great, it took stills shots and even video, and the quality of the camera was fabulous.  After I was married I was able to upgrade my camera to a 10 Mega Pixel Canon PowerShot. Compared to my first camera this was a serious upgrade. After getting the Canon PowerShot I really started to get into and enjoy more about photography.  I carried this camera with me more often; and when my wife and I were on walks I would have the camera with me and be looking for things to take a picture of.  Because I was trying to find things to take pictures of, once in a while I would get lucky and get something that worked.

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I started to get excited about the pictures I was taking.

In Cache Valley there is an event call the Home and Garden show, this is where companies can come and display their products and services. After a long cold Cache Valley winter the Home and Garden show was a much needed excursion out of the house and plus it was an inexpensive outing for the family.  As we walked around the different booths, signing up for all the contests, my wife saw a photography booth and because I was taking more and more pictures I was very interested; however, I did not have the courage to talk to the person, Levi Sim, who was manning the booth.  This interest gave way to reading the sign at the booth. On the sign was information about a group called the Cache Valley Photographers.  My wife pointed out this information and mentioned that it might be fun to get involved with that club. Being a shy and reserved person I reluctantly but willing wanted to go because I was so new to photography.  I had no clue what to expect at the meeting.  When I walked into the Thatcher Young Mansion Levi Sim walked over and introduced himself.  He was the photographer at the Home and Garden Show.  I instantly became part of the Cache Valley Photographers group.  I have been mentored by some of the greatest talented minds in photography.  These people share their knowledge about photography willing.  That first meeting was 2 years ago and now I am feeling it is time to start my own photography business.  But part of that is I want to share what knowledge I know with others.  This blog is going to be dedicated to educating all those that desire to know more about photography.