In The Field: Photo Blog by Richard Wong http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog Sat, 24 Feb 2018 05:31:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/cropped-cropped-RW-Logo-2-1-32x32.jpg In The Field: Photo Blog by Richard Wong http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog 32 32 Developing Your Photography Brand – Part One (of Six) http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/developing-your-photography-brand-part-one/ http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/developing-your-photography-brand-part-one/#respond Fri, 23 Feb 2018 14:00:28 +0000 http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/?p=10199 I originally wrote this series of articles on another site ten years ago and wanted to update this for my own site. In addition to being a photographer, I have served in various marketing roles at advertising agencies, media and adventure travel companies since graduating from college. Since most photographers do not have a background in marketing I wanted to start sharing some of thoughts on the subject and hopefully help some people along the way.

Bodega Head Sunrise Long Exposure, Sonoma Coast, California

Bodega Head Sunrise Long Exposure, Sonoma Coast, California

The most effective way to market your photography or anything else for that matter is to develop a memorable brand. You should think of yourself as a brand first not unlike the way that McDonald’s, Target, etc… does. You are not just an artist, photographer, writer etc… You are a photographic brand. So how do you go about developing one?

When I was a business school student two decades ago *gasp*, one of the basic marketing concepts that the professors beat into our brains was called SWOT Analysis. SWOT Analysis stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.” Since most photographers are running their own operation by themselves, a lot of this analysis involves figuring out what your own skills and limitations are. This should be the starting blocks for how to develop your photography brand.

Strengths / Weaknesses: For example, if you are the quiet type like many photographers are, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a weakness as long as you are aware of how to maximize your opportunities for promoting your brand. Knowing this personality trait of yours, instead of wasting time and money on designing fancy direct mail postcards that you never plan on following up on with a phone call, perhaps you should invest in developing a website that allows you to accomplish your goals. Perhaps design a good print ad campaign to run in Communication Arts or other industry publications to draw targeted buyers in to your website. Or if you are married to a spouse that is more personable than you, see if you can get them to handle the outreach aspect of the business.

Your personality should also determine what areas of photography to pursue. If you are charismatic for example, then it would probably be wise to be a service-oriented photographer such as teaching photo workshops, photographing weddings, portraiture, etc… or become a “celebrity” of sorts with public speaking engagements. If you’re the egotistical type then it’s probably best to do things that don’t require communicating with others or let someone else handle those responsibilities on your behalf. You want people to like your work on their own terms, no amount of boasting about how much you love yourself is going to convince the audience otherwise.

Opportunities / Threats: One of the questions you should ask yourself is what is the current state of the market? For example if photo buyers consistently request for model-released, senior lifestyle photos so it means several things for the photographer.

  1. Not enough people are photographing these subjects
  2. Demand is high – people are living healthy for a longer amount of years than ever so marketers are realizing the benefit to reaching this audience
  3. Lifestyle images are in constant need of updating because fashion and hair styles change

Market conditions would suggest that these images can command premium licensing fees. This screams opportunity is all caps. However if you have no interest in photographing senior lifestyles then none of the above makes a difference. The key is to identify every single one of your opportunities and threats then find ways to work around them. Some types of photography such as travel and nature photography probably have more threats than opportunities but it doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities. It just requires more creativity to get where you where you want to be. For example, I see some photographers partnering with tourism boards in order to do Instagram takeovers. Travel magazines may not pay anymore (or even exist for that matter) but I’ve heard quite a few photographers getting paid some nice five-figure sums for their tourism board assignments so clearly the market has changed and some people have adapted. The rest of us complain about how good the old days were.

There are also other factors to consider as well: What about your personal life? How about long-term decisions?

Though senior lifestyles might be a hot subject to photograph, the fact that these photos have a limited shelf life means that these are short-term opportunities. Definitely great for paying the bills right at that moment but what happens if you can’t actively photograph anymore or get tired of it? The lifestyle images you took ten years ago are now historical photos and no longer relevant.

That may mean eventually transitioning that lifestyle photography experience into running a photo agency, teaching classes / workshops, writing, art gallery showings, designing products for other photographers, etc… Last but not least, don’t forget to pay yourself and invest your money so you won’t have to work until the day you die.

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California Missions List http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/california-missions-list/ http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/california-missions-list/#respond Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:00:13 +0000 http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/?p=10120 For 21 consecutive days in December I posted a photo per day on Instagram from each of the California Missions. It was a fun little project. I wanted to post them chronologically but found myself having to do Google searches every day in order to accomplish this. I figured that I’ll post the list of California Missions here so I won’t have to look at other sites to get this information in the future.

Mission San Diego de Alcalá – Est. 1769
Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo (Carmel Mission) – Est. 1770
Mission San Antonio de Padua – Est. 1771

Road to Mission San Antonio de Padua, Monterey County, California

Road to Mission San Antonio de Padua, Monterey County, California

Mission San Gabriel Arcángel – Est. 1771
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa – Est. 1772
Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores) – Est. 1776
Mission San Juan Capistrano – Est. 1776

Devotion Prayer Candles, Mission San Juan Capistrano, California

Devotion Prayer Candles, Mission San Juan Capistrano, California

Mission Santa Clara de Asís – Est. 1777
Mission San Buenaventura – Est. 1782
Mission Santa Barbara – Est. 1786
Mission La Purísima Concepción – Est. 1787

Christian Cross Atop Doorway at La Purisima State Historic Park, Lompoc, California

Christian Cross Atop Doorway at La Purisima State Historic Park, Lompoc, California

Mission Santa Cruz – Est. 1791
Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad – Est. 1791
Mission San José – Est. 1797
Mission San Juan Bautista – Est. 1797

Main Altar, Mission San Juan Bautista, California

Main Altar, Mission San Juan Bautista, California

Mission San Miguel Arcángel – Est. 1797
Mission San Fernando Rey de España – Est. 1797
Mission San Luis Rey de Francia – Est. 1798
Mission Santa Inés – Est. 1804
Mission San Rafael Arcángel – Est. 1817
Mission San Francisco Solano (Sonoma Mission) – Est. 1823

Sonoma Mission (San Francisco Solano) Chapel, Sonoma, California

Sonoma Mission (San Francisco Solano) Chapel, Sonoma, California

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The Ebbs And Flows Of Creativity http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/the-ebbs-and-flows-of-creativity/ http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/the-ebbs-and-flows-of-creativity/#respond Sun, 18 Feb 2018 14:00:19 +0000 http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/?p=10107 During my formative years of photography I thought that I needed to be out creating new work all the time. I ate, slept and breathed photography. There was no consideration for whether I felt inspired or not. Create first, ask questions later.

I initially couldn’t figure out why I would go through photoshoots over a period of time and either feeling not inspired or not feeling like I had come away with anything better than my previous work. My confidence would wax and wane like the stock market. I’d go through moments wondering if I was a shitty photographer. In hindsight I was forcing it. Creative energy has no rhyme or reason. Being in tune with my own creative ebbs and flows has allowed me to be more productive on my photoshoots. I am not photographing as much as I used to due to a variety of reasons but when I am out in the field these days, I find myself being way more engaged and focused on what I’m trying to communicate through my photography than I ever was in the past. I think the older I get the more I appreciate these opportunities.

In recent years, there have been months where I have spent every free minute on photoshoots. Then there would also be months between photoshoots; often spent catching up after a big trip. During the peak periods of productivity, there is a strong desire to create. During the valleys of productivity, I just don’t feel compelled to pick up the camera or even travel. I guess that is my way of recharging my creative batteries. It doesn’t matter that some people say that they photograph 365 days a year. That’s never been for me. Maybe it will be one of these years or maybe not.

Dry Creek Valley Barn Winter Morning, Sonoma County, California

Dry Creek Valley Barn Winter Morning, Sonoma County, California

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Should You Only Show Your Best Work? http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/should-you-only-show-your-best-work/ http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/should-you-only-show-your-best-work/#comments Sun, 04 Feb 2018 14:00:55 +0000 http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/?p=10083 When it comes to deciding which photos to show on websites and on social media I often see two different philosophies employed by photographers. One type of photographer decides to only show a limited selection of what they deem to be their best work. These photographers typically have a low output but of consistent quality; limited to a few themes. Another type of photographer goes with what I call the “stock photographer” photo editing method. The output is much higher though quality varies greatly as they are less selective about what they post.

Though I have traditionally fallen into the latter category, I can see the validity to both sides of the argument. I personally find myself struggling to strike a balance between the two. Having a more tightly-edited collection is often more visually impressive and memorable. On the other hand, I shoot a lot of photos and I enjoy sharing them. Here are some questions I keep asking myself:

  • Am I being true to myself if I am too restrictive in what I show or am I just employing quality control?
  • Am I doing this out of self-expression or am I a visual entertainer and post based on web metrics?
  • Is there a point in maintain a website and social media presence if I’m not trying to monetize my efforts, hence make decisions based on financial considerations?
  • Will sharing a lot less but with consistently higher quality stimulate more demand?

I have no idea what the answer is but with this new site redesign I’m trying to strike a balance by having curated galleries while putting the archive part of my site more in the background. On social media sites however I’m less picky about what I post because I don’t make money from social media. My social media usage is more for networking and inspiration.

Mendocino Coastline Sunrise at Heritage House Resort, Little River, California

Mendocino Coastline Sunrise at Heritage House Resort, Little River, California

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Website Redesign http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/website-redesign/ http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/website-redesign/#comments Thu, 25 Jan 2018 14:00:38 +0000 http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/?p=10039 After five years of running my website almost entirely on the Photoshelter Beam platform I decided it was time to change things up and redesign my website. There were a number of factors that went into my decision. One reason is that Photoshelter is best served as a search and transaction tool but mediocre for customization and search engine indexing. I knew that going in but with less time on my hands for web production work I needed to go that route at that point in my life. Photoshelter will still be a component of my site but not be the site anymore. The second reason was even more difficult but I’ve gradually moved away from shooting stock photography and want to focus on creating just for the sake of creating. While I license more photos than ever through agencies, the revenue has either been in decline or flat for several years now. It’s just not worth the time anymore and quite honestly my wife and I make a good living from doing other things so I’d rather focus my energy on creating photography that moves me. No more arbitrary rules about editorial standards or post-processing limitations, just whatever I want to do. Peer pressure can be a weird thing in that you might start off with an open mind to doing things but sometimes get steered into directions you didn’t intend until you wake up one day and don’t recognize yourself anymore.

Money can be quite seductive which is why I started down the stock photography path in 2005. I would shoot any and everything basically because it could sell. I’ve never really put much effort into editing my galleries on my website as a result because you can’t sell what people don’t see right? Quite frankly most of the prints I have sold in the past are photos that I personally wouldn’t hang in my own house but business is business. It’s time to go for a different approach. My new redesign was intended to showcase work that I’m passionate about and to provide better user experience for people, not merely Google. If we’re making all of our decisions based on a machine or algorithm then we’ve got it backwards. Google is great for what it is but never lose sight of who your audience is. I’ve started with three tightly-edited galleries of distinct themes. These three themes represent the most common themes of my favorite personal work. I may add more later as I spend more time going through my archive of photos but I didn’t want to water it down with filler material so less is more.

While I’ve done my best to keep the typography consistent across two custom WordPress templates and Photoshelter Beam, I haven’t decided if I am going to fully integrate my blog into the new design yet. I really like this blog template but it makes for a terrible storefront website template and vice versa. I’ve also been creating content for this blog since 2004 so I’m not keen on consolidating down to a single database which would require redirecting my blog posts and not to mention requiring QA work that I don’t have time for. Before making this decision, I did consider a handful of other CMS systems including Squarespace, SmugMug and WideRange galleries but ultimately settled on good ‘ol WordPress after getting feedback from numerous photographers on social media. Finding a template that I liked took some time though. There are so many great templates out there but most just didn’t feel right for my needs. I’m still ironing out the kinks in this new design and barely scratched the surface of how to use it but I like how it turned out. I hope you do too.

Richard Wong Photography - Website Redesign

Richard Wong Photography – Website Redesign

Richard Wong Photography - Curated Gallery Collections

Richard Wong Photography – Curated Gallery Collections

Check out the new redesign at www.rwongphoto.com

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The Value of Photography Prints http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/the-value-of-photography-prints/ http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/the-value-of-photography-prints/#respond Mon, 22 Jan 2018 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/?p=10025 With the popularity of sites like Facebook, Instagram and 500px these days it’s safe to say that photography is primarily viewed on a computer screen or phone these days. All are great ways to discover photography that we might not have seen otherwise. There are big drawbacks to this medium however. I will list some of these below:

– Resolution is compromised by the need for efficient website load time
– Resolution is often degraded by the photographer to mitigate the risks of copyright infringement on the internet
– Resolution is limited by screen resolution
– There is no universal standard for how monitors will display photos on the internet so most opt for a limited color profile such as sRGB

I truly believe that photographic prints are the ultimate expression of most photographers art. All that time spent in the field and in post-processing to capture nuance is largely lost over the internet. That’s a shame in my opinion. The visual experience of looking at a large fine art print or even large-format coffee table book far exceed that of looking at photos on some website. Ditto for Instagram; I can’t think of a worse way to display nuance than on a smartphone. It’s no secret why garish colors and extreme post-processing often garners the most attention on social media. That sort of imagery is the only type that translates well on a small screen where fine details are optional not a requirement.

Print-making is an art form unto itself; as much as in-camera photography techniques and post-processing is. Yet this is the least practiced discipline in today’s digital era. Presentation context is everything in photography. Photos that might not look impressive at all on a website might actually be stunning and take the viewer on a visual journey when presented large in an exhibit print. Everything from the color to the smallest of details are presented exactly the way that the artist intended. That is an experience unique to photographic prints. Even the most well-intended website is incapable of fully-realizing an artists vision. Though photographers are generally not patrons of other photographers’ prints I have purchased several by artists that inspire me including Galen Rowell, Philip Hyde and William Albert Allard.

You might be wondering how to go about printing your own photography? The first thing I would suggest is purchasing a monitor colorimeter to ensure that your monitor is displaying brightness, contrast and color to the same standard that a professional printer would. I can guarantee you that if you are not calibrating your monitor with a Spyder or some other comparable device then you will be disappointed by the prints that you’ll receive from the lab or possibly even worse from your own printer. In order to fully realize your artistic vision your monitor needs to look exactly how you intend for the final print to look. You will waste a lot of time and money trying to get it right if you’re not calibrating your monitor properly. I would actually suggest that this be one of your first purchases when getting into post-processing of any sort if you don’t already own one. Don’t skimp here! Imagine going down this path for five years and realizing one day that none of the photos that you have processed in the past five years are printable. Start off the right way and never have to worry about this in the future.

Once you’ve calibrated your monitor then I would suggest working within a color profile that has a wide color gamut such as Adobe RGB 1998 or ProRGB. If you have spent all your time working in sRGB or CMYK then I’m sorry to break it to you but you should probably start over and not waste your money on the print at this point.

Once your file is ready and you have decided on where you will print the photo, then you should check to see if that print lab (or your own printer) has a specific color profile that needs to be applied to the file. This is a critical step before hitting the print button.

Despite all industry best practices that I follow, I never ship a print to a client without having personally inspected the piece and approved it. There are a lot of factors that go into printing. Many of which can be addressed by the steps I’ve outlined above but even then it’s impossible for a machine or another person to know exactly what your vision is. Only you know what your intended vision is supposed to look like so it’s your responsibility to ensure that the final output meets all of your standards. Prints are the only medium for your work with which you can control all the aspects in which the piece is presented. Take advantage of this unique medium and do your personal vision justice!

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Guy Tal Book Review: The Landscape Photographer’s Guide To Photoshop http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/guy-tal-book-review-the-landscape-photographers-guide-to-photoshop/ http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/guy-tal-book-review-the-landscape-photographers-guide-to-photoshop/#respond Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/?p=10005 It’s been many years since I have read a book about Photoshop. However when I heard that Guy Tal would be publishing a book about Photoshop I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. There are just a handful of photographers that I would consider to be artists. Guy Tal is on that short list.

The Landscape Photographer's Guide To Photoshop By Guy Tal

The Landscape Photographer’s Guide To Photoshop By Guy Tal

Having known Guy Tal through various photography forums and groups for more than a decade, I’ve long admired his ability to come up with unique compositions from unexpected scenes. He has a unique philosophy regarding photography, certainly much different than my approach which has traditionally been more aligned with editorial journalism than pure fine art. The Landscape Photographer’s Guide to Photoshop book goes into great detail about his approach to digital photography. I would say that about half the book is about the “why” rather than the “how”. Make no mistake though, this book definitely covers the techniques; some of which I was already familiar but then others I learned about from reading the book. I really enjoyed the format of this book because rather than merely provide a template for how to copy Guy Tal, he encourages you to find your own vision first then use that to dictate which techniques you will use in post-processing. Unfortunately most people have it backwards and let the technique guide the vision.

Pikes Peak State Park Above Upper MIssissippi River, Iowa (Unedited RAW Conversion)

Pikes Peak State Park Above Upper MIssissippi River, Iowa (Unedited RAW Conversion)

The Landscape Photographer’s Guide to Photoshop helped me refine my own vision of how I wanted this 12 year-old photo to look. The RAW file had been languishing on my hard drives since 2006. The original is not very good to be honest but the main reason why I didn’t delete it is because I doubt I will ever visit this part of the country again and also because I like to revisit photos at a later date if my creative vision evolves to a point where I might want to bring those files to life. In recent years I have been working on a collection of images from gloomy weather conditions – essentially the polar opposite of the typical sunrise and sunset light that is so popular in landscape photography. Through a combination of Guy Tals creative sermons and black & white photo processing techniques from the book, I was able to realize my own vision for this older photo that had never been processed prior to this.

Pikes Peak State Park Above Upper Mississippi River, Iowa

Pikes Peak State Park Above Upper Mississippi River, Iowa

If you are at all interested in landscape photography then I highly encourage you to purchase a copy of Guy Tal’s latest book, The Landscape Photographer’s Guide To Photoshop. I did receive a copy of the book from the author for the purpose of this review but I would have purchased it anyway had it not been for that.

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A Photographer’s Rookie Mistakes http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/a-photographers-rookie-mistakes/ http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/a-photographers-rookie-mistakes/#comments Sun, 07 Jan 2018 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/?p=9982 Occasionally I’ll get some flattering comments about my photography but it always makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable. In my mind, I’m just a photographer that has made more rookie mistakes (and still does!) than the average person but keeps plugging away at it. Here are some photography mistakes and mishaps that I’ve made over the years:

  • Forgetting to change the ISO setting
  • Go to a photo shoot without charging the camera batteries
  • Shoot in jpeg mode instead of RAW
  • Accidentally leave the tripod behind at the beach
  • Drown the camera in the ocean
  • Drown the camera in pouring rain
  • Drop the tripod in the restroom with camera attached
  • Shatter the lens glass in my backpack
  • Shatter a Lee Big Stopper filter on the sidewalk
  • Camera shake due to not using a timer or shutter cable
  • Camera shake due to wind
  • Camera shake due to cheap tripod head
  • Camera shake due to cheap tripod legs
  • Forget the tripod at home
  • Not following instructions while cleaning the camera sensor
  • Scratching the camera sensor
  • Packing up too soon, only to see a stunning sunset in the rear view mirror
  • Not leveling the camera before shooting a straight horizon
  • forgetting to copy and delete photos from the memory cards before going on a photo shoot
  • not buying enough memory cards to make it through the day
  • sun flares
  • missing a dust spot before making a canvas print for my home
  • open up the back of a 35mm film camera with the film still in there
  • not knowing how to rewind a roll of film in my Nikon 35mm SLR – I did it by hand…
  • forgetting to lock tripod legs before setting up the camera

Perhaps the most common photography mistake I’ve made is not removing the lens cap before putting the camera viewfinder to my eye. I still make this annoying mistake all the time after two decades of photography! I’m sure there are other mistakes that I’m forgetting but many of the above are things I’ve listed above have happened to me more than once.

The moral of the story here is that sh*t happens. Drop a few silent f-bombs if you have to and learn from the mistakes then move on. Photography is supposed to be fun. Those who never make mistakes are not taking enough chances.

Road Leading Through Dogwood and Beech Maple Tree Forest in Fall

Road Leading Through Dogwood and Beech Maple Tree Forest in Fall

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Favorite Photos From 2017 http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/favorite-photos-from-2017/ http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/favorite-photos-from-2017/#comments Fri, 29 Dec 2017 22:14:51 +0000 http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/?p=9935 This is the 8th consecutive “Your Best Photos” blog project that I’ve participated in. Thanks to my friend, Jim Goldstein, for hosting this project as usual. Here are my entries from previous years: 201620152014201320122011, and 2010.

2017 was a transitional year for me and my son, Tyler, transitioning from being a newborn to a 1-year-old toddler. Parenting became much more challenging and demanding once Tyler turned 1 so while I did a decent amount of photography during the first half of the year, I hardly did any photography during the latter half of 2017 much less create work that is worthy of sharing in a post like this. My goal with this annual photography exercise is to not repeat my work from previous years and build upon whatever personal vision I might have at the time. As with previous years, I based my choices on personal favorites rather than purely aesthetics or popularity-based metrics. Fine art photography prints are available for most of these photos. Here are my favorite photos of 2017 presented in roughly chronological order:

Moody and mysterious. Just the way I like it.

My parents honeymooned at The Madonna Inn many years ago and I had driven past many times but had never been. So what better time than to treat my wife and son out to Valentine’s Day weekend at The Madonna Inn?

Some people get out of bed for stunning sunrises. This sunrise had mediocre color and worked out just the way I had hoped!

Samantha & Tyler at Aberdeen Centre, Richmond, B.C., Canada

Samantha & Tyler at Aberdeen Centre, Richmond, B.C., Canada

My wife and my son. No need to say anything else.

I would say that this photo was probably the most atypical for me. I’m not even sure why I like the photo. It’s not technically-sound at all, and there is lot going on here yet I like it. This was definitely a spontaneous sort of photo during a spontaneous sort of day so I guess this speaks to how I was feeling at the time.

I found Porto to be a rough-around-the-edges sort of town but very captivating. These street musicians are excellent.

Moody and mysterious again. The way I like it.

I am not religious at all but I find the cross to be a very powerful symbol so I photograph them whenever I can.

My mom was blowing bubbles for Tyler while I was waiting for “The Decisive Moment” to capture this milestone day.

Samantha allowed me to go on a solo overnight fall color excursion this past October. I’m fortunate to have an understanding wife.

Thank you and have a happy 2018!

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Becoming a Jaded Photographer http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/becoming-a-jaded-photographer/ http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/becoming-a-jaded-photographer/#comments Sun, 24 Dec 2017 14:00:50 +0000 http://www.rwongphoto.com/blog/?p=9926 Somewhere along the way I became a jaded photographer. Whether it was a few too many Golden Gate Bridge and heavily-processed HDR photos popping up on my social media feed several years ago when digital photography started becoming a mainstream hobby or from befriending too many like-minded photographers who share a similar mindset, I lost interest in looking at landscape photography for quite some time. At one time I used to gain inspiration from viewing others’ landscapes then it became looking at photos with a critical eye to just straight apathy.

I went to Nevada to hike and explore Valley of Fire State Park with a friend of mine a few years ago. My friend is not a photographer and we ended up at a Peter Lik gallery in Vegas. My friend grew up in Chicago and had never really seen much in terms of western landscapes so I could tell that he was amazed by what he saw. I on the other hand was feeling cynical and made some apathetic comments about cliched photos and marketing hype. My friend disagreed.

Now that I reflect back upon that Vegas experience, I’m realizing that I’m the one with a problem not Peter Lik nor my friend’s relative lack of exposure to art. The first time I saw Peter Lik’s work was back in the early-2000’s in San Francisco. I recall being similarly as impressed as my non-photographer friend was because I had not seen a lot of landscape photography up to that point. What happened to that young version of me that was bright-eyed and bushy tailed? It’s important to keep an open mind and find inspiration if we want to progress as artists. Negative energy is counter productive. People who close themselves off end up becoming dinosaurs at some point.

I see some photography lingo these days that appears to have originated from social media sites; words like “burn”, “skunk”, “comp-stomping”, etc… while I have never used these words myself it is a bit of a wake up call that the world moves on whether or not we choose to move with it. If I closed myself off to the photography community for the next 10 years I might not even be able to have a conversation with other photographers. I don’t want to be that way. The best way to influence change is to be actively involved and engaged. If you’re tired of seeing the same photos again and again then do something constructive with that energy and mentor people. Help progress the art. Having a disdainful attitude accomplishes nothing. People don’t want to be around negative energy. Don’t be jaded. Be motivated.

Sunset Over Stinson Beach, Mount Tamalpais State Park, California

Sunset Over Stinson Beach, Mount Tamalpais State Park, California

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