Photographer's New Year's Resolution

As 2015 draws to a close, many want to change themselves in the New Year. Whether it is losing weight, traveling, or just taking pictures, we all plan to better ourselves. However, the question is, will you actually do it? I have compiled some things that I want to complete in 2016.

1.      Shoot more

I am lazy and with that being said I just need to go out and shoot more. I just need to bring my camera as much as possible whenever I leave the house. The only way to better whatever you do is by practicing it all the time. If I want to get better at photography I need to practice as much as possible.

2.      Create more content

I think everyone that is successful does this. You need to just put content out as much as possible. This goes for any occupation. Jared Polin, photography YouTuber, stresses this all the time. By creating content regularly generates more interest and in turn a bigger audience. For a photographer, it’s not just photos but writing or videos. As long as you are creating content, you will create an audience.

3.      Focus on what I have now

In a recent blog I talked about GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). It is not a real disease but it is when you want the newest and best equipment. I have struggled with this many of times. This year I have really put my foot down. When I ponder new lenses or equipment, I think to myself, do I really need this? I can work with what I have now. The only time you need new equipment is when you are limited by the equipment you have now.

4.      Marketing

As I am heading in to my final semester of college, I need to figure out what I want to do. I know that I want to do photography and if I really want to do that I need to market myself. I need to get my name out there to potential clients. This year I really hopped onto the social media train, which is a great way to get your name out to the world. I also need to use it more and put more time and effort into acquiring new clients.

5.      Be a better person

Last but certainly not least, I need to better myself. I am not just talking about in photography but also life in general. And this can be with anything. Going to the gym, being nicer to people, or even just helping a friend out in need. I am not going to be good with photography and clients if I am not a good person. We all strive to be a better person but we just need to do it.

If you liked this article, please like, share, and comment if you enjoyed. Happy New Year!

3 reasons why the phone (iPhone) is your best camera

Many people under estimate the power of your cell phone camera. However, it is quite a powerful machine. In 2010, the iPhone 4 packed just 5MP and 720p @ 30 fps. We have come a long way from 2010. The 2-3 month old iPhone 6s and 6s plus are packed with camera features some pro DSLR’s and mirrorless cameras don’t have. Such as image stabilization and 4k video recording. Listed below are 3 reasons why the phone (iPhone) in your pocket is your best camera.

1.      It’s always there

As Chase Jarvis says, “The best camera is the one that’s with you”.  In this day in age, everyone carries there phone with them, everywhere. Then, when we don’t have it, we have a panic attack. So, we always have a phone on us. That means we always have a camera on us. Every time you go out you are not going to always grab your DSLR. Rather we grab our keys, wallet, and last but not least our phone. Although we don’t think about it at first, we are always able to capture a moment with our phone. And a very good “camera” phone at that.

2.      Actually a very good camera

Now that we know we have a camera on us at all times, how good is it? As I stated in the first paragraph, just five years ago we had a 5 MP camera. The newest iPhone, the iPhone 6 and 6s packs a lot more. Both phones have a 12 MP camera and an aperture of f/2.2. Which is even a big jump from last year’s 8 MP. This means you can actually capture very high quality photos just from your phone. Apple even has a gallery on their website of pictures taken on the iPhone 6s. My thought while looking through the photos was this. If you took the same picture with a pro DLSR with the same aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, would you be able to tell the difference? If you’re a pixel peeper, then yes. However, many could not tell the difference.

3.      4k

Now that we have discussed the camera on photos, now it’s onto the video. There have been a couple phones that have been able to record 4k before the iPhone. But this is Apple’s first jump into 4k. Both the 6s and 6s plus are able to record 4k at 30 fps. They also record slow motion at 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps. I have a Sony a6000 and the best I can record at is 1080p at 30 fps. I know that the a6000 is not a high end pro camera, but you have a phone that does 4k.  There are a couple higher end cameras that do 4k such as the Panasonic GH4 and the Sony a7ii. But this camera is with you at all times in your pocket. You can even make money on your 4k video! Videoblocks will actually pay you quite a bit when for your 4k video. You will make $191.54, every time someone “buys” your stock footage. The new iPhone is a killer camera phone that can even make you money!

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4 mistakes new photographers make

I have been the photography editor for The Clarion Call (university newspaper) for 3 years now. Over those 3 years, I have noticed some mistakes that are reoccurring with student photographers. These mistakes are particularly seen in people just starting out in photography. I have seen these mistakes with my photographers but also from a lot of other photographers. Here are these mistakes and what you can do to learn from them.

1.      Rule of Thirds

If you do not know anything about photography, you probably may not have heard of The Rule of Thirds. This is one of the fundamental rules of photography. The Rule of Thirds is separating the frame with two horizontal and two vertical lines, creating a 3x3 grid. When shooting a subject, you want to put the subject on any of those lines. That’s why in most photos, the subject is often to the left or the right. It is aesthetically pleasing.

2.      Using flash and not ISO

Since I have students shooting events around campus, often events are in auditoriums or chapels. These places do not have the best lighting let alone lighting at all. When shooting in these conditions, I urge the photographers to crank up the ISO and turn off the flash. There is a great chance that you are not going to be in the front row or very close for that matter. With that being said, the flash will be useless. You will be lighting the crowd more than the subject(s) on stage. Plus, do not be that guy/girl who is being annoying and using flash.

3.      Gear Acquisition Syndrome

Gear Acquisition Syndrome also known as GAS, is a very serious condition where one needs the newest and best photography gear. I have and am currently suffering from this. How can you not want the newest lens or body!? However, it is all in your brain. If you are a photographer, you hear this all the time. You don’t need the best gear to create the best pictures. I recently read an article about the cameras the photographers of National Geographic use. One photographer used a Canon T5i. This camera is a high end consumer DSLR. You couldn’t tell which National Geographic photo was taken by a Canon 5D Mark III or a Canon T5i, no one could.

4.      Shutter Speed

Shooting for the university newspaper, requires sports photography. Numerous times I see photographers getting blurry action photos or the subjects are sharp and clean but the ball is a glob of blur. This is all due to a low shutter speed. When shooting sports photography, it is key to shoot at least 1/250 of a second or higher. This freezes almost all the action in the frame. There may be some sports that need to be higher than 1/250. I have also noticed some student photographers are shooting at f/10. You can easily open your shutter to f/4-5.6 to increase the shutter speed and get rid of motion blur.

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3 great ways to get out of the photography creative rut

A creative rut is a place (non physical) where you just can’t seem to create anything. Your mind is blank and every time you take a picture, you’re just not happy with. It is a mental hole that is often hard to climb out of. However, I am here with a stepladder.

Many may ask if these are the only ways to do this, and the answer is obviously no. These are the 3 ways that have worked for me and I’d thought I’d share them.

1.     The first way that helps me climb out of this rut is looking at my past photographs. After searching around my computer, I pull up the pictures in Adobe Bridge and start scrolling. The reason I look at my past photos is to see where I came from. Nothing motives someone than seeing his or her progress. That’s what everyone wants to see in life, progress.  Looking at past photographs also can show yourself what you need to work on. You can decide, “hey maybe I still need to work on my flash work, it’s still not where I want it to be.” Finally, looking at your past photographs you can get ideas. You may have a photo-shoot years ago that you really liked. Recreate it, make it better. For me, these things not only get me out of the creative rut but also help me improve my photography.

2.     Just go and shoot. I read an article the other week that talked about this (This isn't the exact article). Don’t plan and visualize but just go and create photographs. I think that’s a reason why people get into the creative rut. They try to copy other photographers (which is fine) but they just don’t get the results they were looking for. Which in turn, discourages them and they start digging that rut. What you need to do is just grab your camera and just go shoot. Don’t think about it, don’t visualize the shot, create it right there and then.

3.     The last way to get out of the creative rut is to look at other photographer’s work. I know from reading numerous photography articles, is to look at other photographer’s work. I do this daily whether it is from Instagram or Twitter; I am always exposing myself to other photographer’s work. This lets my analyze their and try and figure out how they got the shot. Did they use flash or a reflector? Was this shot on film or digital? Looking at other photographer’s work also just makes me want to go out and shoot. Every time I’m on the VSCO iPhone app and scrolling away, I just get that urge to go and create the shots I saw or even create better photos.

Again, these are just 3 steps that help me get out of the creative rut. I hope you took something away from this article.