Tag Archives: Artistic

Expression in your photography is you

Expression :: Put you into your portfolio

• Expression :: Put you into your portfolio •
[Image taken from the video below].

Let go of other peoples expectations

Photographers often say about their work that they “should” be doing this or that. Or, maybe they say they would be “better” doing this instead of that with their work. Often that just adds up to a statement about their aspirations. Often these aspirations are reactions to what they think people want. They are not true expressions of who they really are.

It is all too easy for us to fall foul of fashion and social pressure in our photography. Amateur and professional alike, photogs are artists. True expression is really about what we feel. Not what we do to meet the expectations of fashion or popular interest.

Expression – understanding our inner selves

When we are truly satisfied with a photo it’s not because we think everyone else is going to think it’s great. It is because we know we have done something good. We’ve done something that really expresses how we feel about the shot we have just made. Expression is our inner artist coming out.

I met a photographer once who thought, when he got started, that it was all about glamour and glory. He tried hard for four or five years to be “be a professional photographer”. He did everything his boss told him. He took the pictures his boss said would make him successful. He worked continually to meet the goals set by the photographic fashions and the aspirations his boss had for him. He even did a part time college course and learnt all the academic and background ideas. He did as he was told, learnt the trade – and failed.

Twenty years later, when I met him, he was working as a local government officer. I asked him why he had given up photography. He told me he had not. He gave up being a pro-photographer and for a long time did not pick up a camera. Then, one day, years later he did. And, he discovered what photography was really about. It is about expression.

What he’d not seen in those heady days when learning the trade was his own inner artist. Everything he did was for others. All his pictures were motivated by external influences. Then, years later, when the pressure was off he discovered something. Actually photography is a very hands on, gritty sort of profession. There really is not much glamour. But there is a lot you can say about the world. A photographer, like any artist needs to let themselves out. The expression of what they feel about a scene is what they should be working on. Not what everyone else thinks should be said about a scene.

Expression IS photography

Make sure your pictures say something. Let people know who you are through your pictures. Tell them what you are interested in. Communicate with them through your images. Make pictures in their minds. Expression is everything in photography. It says “I love this”, or “that is important”, or “my heart was in this scene”… or whatever. Expression IS photography.

Who you are goes deeper than your portfolio

Here is a short video clip with a famous photographer, Jeremy Cowart Expression :: Jeremy Cowert | External link - opens new tab/page. It shows something many photographers forget. When your pictures reach out to someone, the influence is more profound than the talent of technical excellence. Telling people who you are and what you are thinking through your pictures is a powerful expression.
Uploaded by CreativeLive


What’s Your Mark? Every Moment Counts Expression :: Book review - What's Your Mark?: Every Moment Counts | External link - opens new tab/page | External link - opens new tab/page
In this extraordinary book Jeremy Cowen delivers amazing photography. With it he tells some equally extraordinary stories. The book breaches the boundaries of ordinary coffee-table photography books. The stories cut straight to the heart. Human interest and art do live together. This book brings that out.
What’s Your Mark? Every Moment Counts by Jeremy Cowart (Photographer) and Brad Davis (Designer), Expression :: Book review - What's Your Mark?: Every Moment Counts | External link - opens new tab/page | External link - opens new tab/page

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Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer 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 photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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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’.

Five warning signs that your photo should not be posted online

Some photographs are not impressive.

You feel proud of them. You want to get them posted straight away. Unfortunately, not every photo is suitable to put online. Concentrate on getting your best shots up there. Here are five ways to think about the posting decision.

Fast tracking is a disaster!

Beware the quick snap. I have rarely seen anyone make a great shot from an instant snap. Sure, journalists and professional photographers seem to be able to do it. They have a vast experience of shooting in difficult situations. They are more accurate, frame better and shoot faster than the average hobby photographer. For other photographers careful shooting is essential. After the shot, to just download and post will be to compound any errors you make. If you want your photos to have impact then think about every part of the shot through to final posting. Every detail will affect the quality of your final result. Rush it and you may as well flush it!

Is there anything there?

Before you post a picture do one thing. Ask yourself, “is there anything there”? This simple question will tell you – if you’re truthful – if the shot is worth posting. You must look with care to see if there is something in the photograph that will make your viewers sit up and pay attention to your shot. Is it pretty? Is it emotive? Will it draw them in? Will they stare into the picture transfixed? In your heart, as a photographer, you will know the answer to that question. If your shot does not have ‘something’ there… reconsider!

Is it technically good enough?

Look at your shot. Is it really sharp enough? Some things may not need to be sharp, but are they expressing the right thing? Or, are they expressing anything? If the technique fails, the point of the picture is often lost. The interest in a shot is often a fine balance – if something distracts the balance is tipped the wrong way. Softness, bright spots, clutter… whatever is causing the fault will cause the shot to fail. Discard the technically poor shots.

Is it artistically effective?

This is difficult. We may completely disagree on the artistic success of a shot. You be the judge. Think carefully about your style. Do it your way. Express it your way. Just make sure that it meets or exceeds the standard you have attained. Each picture you publish should make your artistic point slightly better than the last. Edit your shots so they say exactly what you want them to say. If your shot does not say it – then don’t post it. If your image ‘sort-of’ says it, then don’t publish. You have a duty to your photography to express yourself. Make that expression as clear and effective as you know how. A confused or weak message will be lost and that is a photo you should not publish.

Do you love it?

If the answer to that is “YES, IT’S THE BEST THING SINCE THE WHEEL WAS INVENTED” then don’t publish it. You are probably drunk or suffering from an extreme case of authors pride. We have all been there. Walk away from it. Leave it 24 hours. Get a grip. It may well be the best picture you have ever made. If that is true then you will be able to savour it like a fine wine. You will be able let it breath in the processing so it is improved for the final posting. A picture as good as that deserves to become a vintage. And, you will be able to better able to judge it (and process it) when you have become less heady about it. Then again, you may find it was all a dreadful mistake and it should never see the light of day again! When you are suffering from authors pride you cannot make that judgement. Take the time for your editing head to catch up before you publish. Try to establish a new personal best every time you post. To achieve that work with a reasoned, objective judgement in mind.

A thought on improvement

Our improvement journey as photographers needs to be validated. It is difficult, if not impossible, to improve without people giving us feedback. This short essay is intended to help people accomodate principles in thier workflow that help them to take a personal and critical look at each post. Take time, consider your work, do your best. If your post is not ‘perfect’ it is because we need to aspire to improve. If you have tried your best then put it out there. The feedback you get will help you exceed your best next time. Improving as artists and photographers is an incremental journey. We cannot jump to perfection. Every artist in history has risked revealing their latest work knowing it is not perfect. Self-doubt helps us move forward. We can only seek to improve and to provide some pictorial pleasure for others along the way.

I hope that helps you take a step back and look at your images before shooting and especially before posting. Your photography will be all the better for it if you watch these points.