Tag Archives: Self development

Why do new? Just do you!

Reflection of a girl in a shop window. Don't do new, do you

• Monochrome girl in blue •
When starting out try out lots of things. As you develop your interests will start to find a focus.

Style is you.

Photography is your interest. Do it your way. When learning you’ll find joy in just trying out many new things. As you develop you will find your way of doing things becomes a form of self expression.

Self expression

Letting out the inner you in your photography is one of the highest forms of success. Every photograph is a unique form of communication. So when you focus on something that you are interested in, passionate about, you express your inner self in a powerful way. Self expression is how top photographers make a success of their business. Clients come to them because they like the way the photographer does it.

Doing new is not you

Less experienced photographers think that they will only “make the grade” by dreaming up something new. It is a seductive idea – our modern culture is built on “new”. Trust me on one thing. There are very few ways of doing something “new”. New techniques, new ideas, never-seen-before views… totally new stuff – these things are far and few between. Photographs are published online in their millions every day – literally. A photographer cannot hope to do “new” all the time or even frequently.

“New” is something that will happen – but normally as a result of a very individual form of expression. When you really express you, really do it your way, you are doing “new”. Truly individual expression comes from doing it your way. The picture may be of an oft-seen subject. The way you do it is what will make it a lasting image in the mind of the viewer.

If you concentrate on developing your pictures around your special way of seeing you will be developing your style. That is what will give you the edge, the new way of doing it. Look for the light the way you like it. Take the point of view you like to see things from. Express the colours in the scene in the unique pallet you love to have around you. These things will all contribute to your style and your expression.

Ironic isn’t it? So many photographers look for the new, the different, the next new idea. If they spent a little time looking at what they were really interested in they would find the “new” within themselves.

Remember to enjoy your photography

If photography becomes an stressful search for something that is not in you, then the fun will go out of it. Investing your shoot-time in a personal interest will bring out your passion in a unique way. In so doing you will increase your enjoyment. You will also find the “new” you were looking for. You will also find a new way to express your inner feelings about the world around you.

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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
See also: Profile on Google+.

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Principles for excellent photographers – yes, thats you!

No matter how quirky, make sure you drive your photography forward...

No matter how quirky, make sure you drive your photography forward…
Quirky By Netkonnexion on Flickr External link - opens new tab/page

People who excel do so because they try.

My students of photography are exceptional. They are dedicated to learning photography, clever, talented and they enjoy what they do. They don’t know how talented they are, they are not ready to move to the next level or to take charge of their photographic destiny. Most of them hold back.

Those students are you! Photography is a uniquely self driven pursuit. You don’t need to be “ready” – you need to have a go… Everyone can be exceptional if they try; most don’t.

Here are the principles to help motivate the next move. They will take your photography to the next level and get your pictures out there.

Imagine…

You can do some incredible things with photography. Imagine what you want to do. No matter how amazing it sounds, no matter what you want to achieve, or how out of your reach it seems – imagine yourself doing it. If you have that dream, that goal, that vision in your mind, you are on the road to success.

Contract…

This is your dream. No one else’s. Only you want it. Make a deal with yourself to fulfil your own contract. You are going to reach that goal you envision. You will get help and work with other people, but that contract is your guide. Be your own leader, worker, supporter, friend, cheerleader troupe and advocate.

Plan…

Your contract is your guide. Plan how to fulfil it. Make your path obvious, map it clearly. Don’t be afraid to risk changes – be flexible. Your development can teach you better ways. Work to move quickly to your goals. Use your dream. The paths you take should reflect the importance of your contract. Take one step at a time and move smoothly forward.

Risk…

Do things that invigorate your soul. Get the adrenaline pumping. Do the risky things despite your misgivings. Publish a picture, dare to write to a celebrity for a photo-shoot. Challenge your limits. Take risks to push your photography beyond comfort. Make your heart pound. Don’t protect yourself or create limits. Take some risks, it opens doors. Try new things, it makes you take a new look at your photography. Start immediately, stretch your limits.

Toughness…

Doing new and exciting things will get you attention. Sometimes you will be the toast of the town. Sometimes you will feel you are drowning in the pool of criticism. Stand-outs, leaders and risk-takers all have enthusiastic followers. The down side is the critics cluster around too. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going! Being neutral will consign you to obscurity. Get used to being on the crests of waves and in the trough between them. They come together, but the benefits win out. Stay with it.

Readiness…

You don’t need to wait for validation, promotion or the big break. You are not going to be ‘discovered’. You are ready now. Moving on is liberating and simple. Take the next step on your own initiative. You know you can do it. So take the next move – dare to work to better your photography, dare to be bold. Don’t question yourself – you are ready.

Different…

If your vision is different, innovative – that is good. Dare to think different. Push your style to its limits. The unique, quirky and out of the box style gets attention. Don’t listen to the inner art critic. You can let your style out. You can realise your artistic and photographic talent. Be different. It will be your own personal validation. It is a licence to show people how you see. Seeing is what photography is about. Be quirky – show the world.

Agendas…

Ask for help. Ask for advice. Make your own decisions about moving forward. Assess advice yourself. Be confident in your assessment. Work to your agenda. Your development, your talent, your ideas are only going to be successful because of you. Other people have agendas of their own for helping and advising. While some things others say will be useful – some will not. Review your “contract” with yourself. Check that the advice of others fits with your inner direction. Test all advice you are given and follow only the advice that benefits your long haul goals.

Respite…

Focus your attention. Do the unthinkable. Push the limits, take your photography to the edge – push your skills. Remember, learning and redefining your boundaries is hard. You will be challenged and you will find it tiring. Stretching yourself becomes a compulsion once you start. Make sure you have some “you” time. Take time for respite. Be rested – be more effective.

Share…

Share your knowledge, skills and talent. There is no greater self development than to share and teach. Be generous with your help of others. Give of yourself so that you can feel fulfilled as a person as well as an artist and photographer. If you are helping those who will be the future of photography you will also be the parent of a trend. Don’t hold back your talent. Let others benefit. A wave will carry you for free. Commanding the tide not to rise is futile and saps your strength. Share and you will reach your goals.

Enjoy!

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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
See also: Profile on Google+.

Why are you waiting? Be you – just do it!

• The Manager •

• The Manager •
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Manager @ work by kristof ramon, on FlickrExternal link - opens new tab/page

Are you waiting to be told it’s OK?

Your manager? Your boss? Perhaps an editor or publisher? Waiting for them to tell you your photos are OK? Then you can go ahead and be a photographer… yes? If you are waiting for someone else to tell you that your work is OK, you are giving away your own power to take action. You are giving yourself a cast iron reason not to go on.

About photography

When we take a photograph we have taken a single, but personal, initiative to do something. It may seem a small decision but it is your own. Passing the power of validation for that decision to someone else is one of the many ways photographers stop their own personal development. They feel that until someone “official” has told them that their work is OK, they cannot advance further. A job may be like that, but photography is not.

Feedback

You produce a picture. You feel good enough about it to ask someone to give an opinion. If you never get an opinion back you assume your work was not good enough. Or, you do get one and they don’t like it. You are affected, perhaps devastated, both ways.

What if you never give that power to someone else? What if you never show your images to anyone else? Your photography will stall. You will never develop. Your ability to understand the good and bad things about your photography will never be challenged or change for the better.

Feedback from other people is extremely important. It helps you understand if you have communicated the message in your image so others can understand it. It helps you to understand what other people consider appealing, shocking, or whatever emotion you were conveying. Go ahead and get feedback. Use it to help you critically review your own work. Understand however, that is not validation. It is about self review and self development.

It’s personal

Being a photographer is a uniquely personal activity. Images comes from within you, no one else. It is a synthesis of your personal insight about your scene and the elements of the scene itself. It is a personal interpretation of a microcosm of time, a projection of yourself and a capture of the meaning in the scene. You do not need someone to validate that for you. What you have done in capturing that scene is the only validation you need.

Always feel you can move on. Don’t let anyone have the power over your ability to do your photography. Listen to other people. Consider their thoughts. Thank them, learn from them. Then, when you have heard enough – get on with making the next image on your mind.

You, and only you can make your photography worthwhile. If someone stands in your way go around them. Be true to yourself and you will take your photography forward.

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Ten simple tips to help your photography…

Ten Tips about self expression. It takes time and effort to learn to communicate

Ten Tips about self expression. It takes time and effort to learn to communicate.

…but which are not about taking photographs.

It’s great to learn all about taking photos. But, sometimes you need to learn other things. Your skill is affected by things beyond photographic skills. Appreciate the whole experience. It is not just pushing the button that counts.

Photography is a form of self expression. It takes time and commitment to improve that. You need to focus on it. Think about releasing energy. Your creative energy. To improve self expression in photography, learn how to do in many ways. Not only through your pictures.

Self expression – release the inner you…
  1. If you are doing photography to be famous – try something else.
  2. Great images are only made by well prepared photographers who concentrate and attend to detail.
  3. Try the methods of other photographers. Don’t copy them. Be you. Work to be better.
  4. Make friends who also do photography. Learn from each other.
  5. Make mistakes freely – but work to improve everything.
  6. Observe yourself. Know you, know your photography.
  7. Work to improve you. Good photography will follow. Improvement is a habit. It comes out in everything you do.
  8. Improve your writing, talking, drawing, photography… all your self expression. Your passion only shows if you can freely express yourself.
  9. Always pack more warm clothes than you need. You cannot concentrate and be creative if you are cold.
  10. Openly discuss your opinions about photography. Talking helps you learn. Self expression takes practice.
Why self expression?

Study how YOU communicate. Then you will know how your self expression works. Photography is like every form of art. It is a way of talking to the world. You are talking to those who see your pictures. Expressing yourself through this medium is about learning self expression in general. That includes the way you communicate in other ways. If your general communication improves you will help your photography. Your new self-knowledge will show itself through self expression in your photography.

Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is editor of Photokonnexion. He has professional experience in photography, writing, image libraries, and computing. He is an experienced, webmaster and a trained teacher. Damon runs regular training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’
By Damon Guy :: Profile on Google+.

One tip to keep your photography improving for ever!

We all want to improve our photography. Extending yourself, developing new skills and using new techniques are a part of the road to improvement. However, the ultimate aim is to develop the ‘photographers eye’. We want to see a scene, visualise a pleasing outcome, then produce a photograph realizing our vision. Developing that vision is something that comes with experience, practice, skill and aspirations.

Our standards define a quality image. If a picture meets our standard we would put it on the wall, proudly show it off or gladly publish it. Aspirations are how we raise our standards. If we aspire to higher levels of skill and art we are raising the bar – raising the standard of our photographic performance.

In another article I suggested you should start a 50-a-day habit of viewing photographs. In the next article I showed you some places where you could find pictures to feed your habit. Today’s tip is about your standards and aspirations.

While feeding your 50-a-day habit look out for the ‘One’the photograph that does what you want to achieve in an area of your photography. If you are interested in food photography, keep an eye out for the ‘One’ that you wish you had taken; the ‘One‘ you aspire to in your own shots. If you shoot sports, keep an eye open for the ‘One’ shot that is the champion of what you want to express. Look out for the shots you think cannot be bettered.

Collect those ‘One’ shots for all the areas of photography you are working on. These are the aspirational and inspirational shots that are your goals in photography. When you produce shots like that you will be in a new, higher place.

I put my collection in a folder I call ‘My Admiration Set’. I return to them regularly. I admire them, I aspire to their standards and I soak myself in their essence. These are the shots that I will one day be able to reproduce in my own way. I will equal them, and I will move on.

‘My Admiration Set’ is an evolving standard. I prune them, I replace them and I meet the changing aspirations I have with new ideas and images. One thing is constant. These images are the ones that indicate where my photography is going. They are my inspiration, my guide and the standard I aspire to reach.

My tip today is… set up your own ‘Admiration Set’. Keep it going, keep it growing. But, never put any picture in there that you are capable of producing now. The only pictures you can put in there are the pictures that you one-day hope to be able to produce. Then, work towards that goal.