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A good advice

November 5, 2009 1 comment

Advice for Aspiring Photographers

By Cheryl Jacobs Nicolai

“These are my thoughts, nothing more and nothing less.

I get asked all the time, during workshops, in e-mails, in private messages, what words of wisdom I would give to a new and aspiring photographer. Here’s my answer.

• Style is a voice, not a prop or an action. If you can buy it, borrow it, download it, or steal it, it is not a style. Don’t look outward for your style; look inward.

• Know your stuff. Luck is a nice thing, but a terrifying thing to rely on. It’s like money; you only have it when you don’t need it.

• Never apologize for your own sense of beauty. Nobody can tell you what you should love. Do what you do brazenly and unapologetically. You cannot build your sense of aesthetics on a consensus.

• Say no. Say it often. It may be difficult, but you owe it to yourself and your clients. Turn down jobs that don’t fit you, say no to overbooking yourself. You are no good to anyone when you’re stressed and anxious.

• Learn to say, “I’m a photographer” out loud with a straight face. If you can’t say it and believe it, you can’t expect anyone else to, either.

• You cannot specialize in everything.

• You don’t have to go into business just because people tell you that you should! And you don’t have to be full time and making an executive income to be successful. If you decide you want to be in business, set your limits before you begin.

• Know your style before you hang out your shingle. If you don’t, your clients will dictate your style to you. That makes you nothing more than a picture taker. Changing your style later will force you to start all over again, and that’s tough.

• Accept critique, but don’t apply it blindly. Just because someone said it does not make it so. Critiques are opinions, nothing more. Consider the advice, consider the perspective of the advice giver, consider your style and what you want to convey in your work. Implement only what it makes sense to implement. That doesn’t make you ungrateful; it makes you independent.

• Leave room for yourself to grow and evolve. It may seem like a good idea to call your business “Precious Chubby Tootsies”…but what happens when you decide you love to photograph seniors? Or boudoir?

• Remember that if your work looks like everyone else’s, there’s no reason for a client to book you instead of someone else. Unless you’re cheaper. And nobody wants to be known as “the cheaper photographer.”

• Gimmicks and merchandise will come and go, but honest photography is never outdated.

• It’s easier to focus on buying that next piece of equipment than it is to accept that you should be able to create great work with what you’ve got. Buying stuff is a convenient and expensive distraction. You need a decent camera, a decent lens, and a light meter. Until you can use those tools consistently and masterfully, don’t spend another dime. Spend money on equipment only when you’ve outgrown your current equipment and you’re being limited by it. There are no magic bullets.

• Learn that people photography is about people, not about photography. Great portraits are a side effect of a strong human connection.

• Never forget why you started taking pictures in the first place. Excellent technique is a great tool, but a terrible end product. The best thing your technique can do is not call attention to itself. Never let your technique upstage your subject.

• Never compare your journey with someone else’s. It’s a marathon with no finish line. Someone else may start out faster than you, may seem to progress more quickly than you, but every runner has his own pace. Your journey is your journey, not a competition. You will never “arrive.” No one ever does.

• Embrace frustration. It pushes you to learn and grow, broadens your horizons, and lights a fire under you when your work has gone cold. Nothing is more dangerous to an artist than complacency.”

Taken from The Online Photographer. Here is the link.

Original text from Cheryl’s blog, PhotoDino. Thank you very much!

(please look at the comments on the Cheryl’s advice)


El padre

Patriciu, with his D70s

Patrciu, a good friend of mine, with his D70s at Bistrita, 2005*

Canon Rebel K2, Sigma 28-80 and Kodak Professional CN 400 BW, C41.

*Even if the photograph did not focus well, I liked the photographer’s expression.

Categories: Film, Kodak BW 400 CN, SLR Tags: , ,

Primii pasi…

November 1, 2009 1 comment

Tin minte, ca acum cativa ani imi imprumutase Edi aparatul lui de fotografiat, primit la randul lui, de la cineva.  Parea o bijuterie de aparat. De fapt, mai mult o jucarioara de aparat. Primul SLR electronic, pe care puneam degetele. Degete care nu stiau sa il porneasca. Radeam amandoi pentru ca erau moarte bateriile.

Era un SLR Canon. Canon Rebel K2. Era in voga, cu renume, nu se gaseau pe toate gardurile, iar pretul lor era destul de mare. Imi placea si cum suna denumirea lui, parca il facea mai deosebit, iar K2, firma de echipamente pentru sport extrem. Degentele s-au lipit bine de el, aproape 2 ani, chiar daca il bateam pe Edi la cap sa il dau inapoi. Mi-a fost drag aparatul. Il purtam cu mine mai tot timpul.

Uitasem de Zenit pentru moment. La vremea aceea avea o problema la mecanismul de derulare si rupea filmul, problema care o mai are si acum, de altfel, desi l-am dus in Cluj, la batranelul vestit sa il repare. Mi-a spus ca nu are nici o problema.

Primisem cadou de la cineva apropiat, de Craciun, un film Tura, facut in Germania, alb-negru, cu 36 de expuneri, proces C-41. De abia se mai gaseau prin oras, desi nu prea cumpara lumea filme decat foarte rar.  Imi aduc aminte ce scria pe cutia respectiva, pe care inca o mai am.  “Pentru ca nu trebuie sa renuntam la ceea ce visam”. Ironia sortii a fost ca Zenitul a distrus filmul si am putut recupera vreo 3-4 cadre. Eram destul de suparat, iar Edi a cazut la fix cu aparatul.

Prietenia cu Canon EOS Rebel K2  s-a dezlantuit foarte repede. Dupa o luna si ceva de cautari si promisiuni am luat bateriile necesare sa-l pornesc. Daca-mi aduc bine aminte erau  CR-2, 3V. Gasisem si butonul de pornire intre timp. Aparatul era usor, zgomotos cand focaliza si dupa fiecare cadru aparatul nu mai putea focaliza, parca ramanea fara alimentare. Avea o problema des intalnita la aparatele pe film Canon, ceea ce am aflat mult mai tarziu. Ma rog, dupa fiecare cadru apasam butonul de focalizare si isi revenea, uneori necesita doar o repornire, spre bucuria mea. Mai aveam si doua filtre pe 58mm, unul galben si unul rosu, Quantaray.

Nu cunosteam prea multa lume care avea placerea sa fotografieze. Si in special pe film. Cumparam filme Kodak (C41) si Agfa APX (manual), in special asa 400, desi Kodak CN 400 avea un grain mai mult, se developa fara bataie de cap si se gasea mult mai usor, desi era mai scump. Spun bataie de cap, pentru ca dupa doua experiente neplacute cu Agfa, am renuntat sa mai cumpar. Le-am dus la developat la un chiosc kodak si mi-au spus ca “nu au iesit”. Si acum mai cred ca au incurcat filmele, developandu-le in proces automat, C41. Din pacate grainul filmelor Agfa il vazusem doar intamplator la cineva, in cateva fotografii, o parte de la bunicul meu.

Din joaca, din noroc, K2-ul a schimbat ceva in mine. Nu stiam daca in bine sau in rau, insa cu timpul am observat acele schimbari…Zenitul incetasem sa il folosesc datorita problemelor care le avea, bani de alt aparat mai bun nu aveam si nici nu stiam de unde sa imi cumpar.

A urmat o pauza lunga, de cativa ani…pana la primul meu DSLR.

Alex, fratele meu.

Bistrita, 2005

my brother

Canon EOS Rebel K2 , Sigma 28-80 f/3.5-5.6 Macro

Kodak CN 400 BW Professional,  asa 400/36p – C41 process

f/3.5-5.6 Aspherical Macro HF

Categories: Film, Kodak BW 400 CN, People, SLR Tags: , , ,