Finding Your Niche in Photography

Should a photographer have a niche when it comes to photography or should a photographer be able to photograph anything? A lot of photographers seem to struggle with that question when they start out in photography. Should they study and practice to be great at one type of photography or study various styles, forms, and photography practices? I can see the pros and cons of both schools of thought.

 Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Every photographer wants to be great and known for their work and many people have no problem being specialized in one type of photography. There are those that love landscape, wedding, portrait, pet, event, wildlife, nature, real estate, drone, and many other types of photography. Most people choose their type of photography based on their passion and some do a particular type of photography for monetary gains. In most cases, they have a niche and stick with it. For me, I started my journey in photography with landscapes and locations like Utah.

But is having a niche or one particular style always a good thing? I believe having a niche can be good, but I also believe it limits a photographer from learning and growing as a photographer. Now, don't get me wrong, a photographer doesn't have to know all types of photography to be successful, but wouldn't it be great if a photographer possessed a variety of creative skills that he or she could use if needed? Many photographers are routinely asked if they photograph things they normally don't photograph all the time. If he or she can't do a job, some people may think they must not be a "real" photographer.

When I started in photography I did like most photographers and thought I needed my own niche or speciality. I thought I needed to find one type of photography and do just that one style. I was told I needed to find my niche. I felt if I devoted my time, money, and energy into one style or type of photography I would be successful. Something inside me told me that was not the way to pursue my passion for photography. My passion in photography has always been to capture moments in time, no matter the subject. I realized I needed to study various forms of photography and even study videography.

My belief stems from a belief I have always had as a martial artist. When I began my martial arts studies when I was 13 years old I learned under one style. For years I thought that is all I needed to know to become a good martial artist. After learning the basics of the style I was studying I realized I needed to know more to become a skills fighter. I needed to studying other forms of martial arts to become a better martial artist. In a sense, my niche was not having a niche. Photography to me is the same way. After learning the basics of photography, I felt I needed to learn other forms and techniques of photography. I did not need a niche. I needed to learn all that I could from others. I needed to find my way. There is an old saying that Bruce Lee said that applies to my martial arts days, my life today, and even with my photography today. Lee said, "Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own'.

 North Carolina Zoo

North Carolina Zoo

I feel everyone has their opinion whether it is good to have a single niche regarding their photography. I can see why some people feel that way. A niche can be a good thing and for some photographers very profitable. I choose to not have a niche. I love to photograph all types of subjects. I love to photograph landscapes, nature, wildlife, pets, portraits, sports, and even headshots for clients. However, I choose to not do weddings. I can't handy the drama from the divas. For me, I photograph what I like and try to improve my skills all the time. I never know when I will need some specific skills to help someone out.

I want to learn new things and learn from others. I want to do more video in the future. Videography will allow me to expand my skills sets and help to tell a story. I want to create stories. I want to write more blog posts about photography. But to do that I need to know myself, become more observant of my limitations, and continue to strive to become a better photographer.

A niche can be a great thing. For me, a niche limits my ability to grow and become a better and more skills photographer. Do you feel each photographer has to have a specific niche to be successful? I would love to hear your views on the subject. Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Finding Another Mini-Tripod for Vlogging

As some of you know I am looking to getting into more video production in the future. I have all the equipment I really need. I  recently began conducting an inventory of all my gear to make sure I have everything. One item I know I will need to shoot video will be a good high-quality tripod that can support my DSLR camera and lens. I have 3 standard tripods and I had one mini-tripod. Noticed I said, "had". I had the Mama Win 2-in-1 Camera Tripod +Cell Phone Tripod, iPhone Tripod Mount for about one year.

 Mama Win Tripod

Mama Win Tripod

I ordered the Mama Win tripod in 2017 and used it occasionally for minor recordings and usually for just holding my cell phone. I never got the opportunity to travel with it for a photo shoot. By all appearances, the tripod looks very cool and I thought it should be very sturdy and strong. I was wrong. While simply attaching my DSLR one of the tripod legs snapped off. I thought, what a piece of junk? I was a little shocked by the weakness of the tripod and definitely thought it would last longer than it did. I figured over time and with some continued use the product would eventually break down, but not that quickly. Oh well, what should I have expected from a tripod that cost less than $20.00? I have to admit, it did look cool though.

 Patekfly Tripod

Patekfly Tripod

Since the Mama Win turned out to be a piece of junk I knew I had to purchase a new tripod for my upcoming vlogging adventures. I decided to go with the Patekfly 12 Inch Flexible Camera Tripod. The Patekfly has over 120, 5-star reviews on Amazon. I like the way the tripod has flexible strong legs that have minimum parts that can snap off. It supports my Canon 80D and Tamon telephoto zoom lens. I was a little concerned that it may not be able to hold up the weight of the camera and lens. It seems to be a stronger tripod.

If you are looking to purchase a mini-tripod for your camera, GoPro, iPhone, check out the Patedfly camera tripod. It comes with attachments to support can a DSLR camera, GoPro, or iPhone. The cost is no bad either. It cost under $25.00 on Amazon.

I will keep everyone posted on how well the Patekfly tripod holds up in the field when I am out working on shooting video in the future, so stay tuned.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Spring Flowers Photo Shoot in Kernersville

Yesterday was a great day to head out and find some images of colorful Spring flowers. I love this time of year in North Carolina. The colors of spring are really starting to show up. I normally venture out and drive the back roads of my state to find beautiful flowers and plants. Yesterday, I decided to take a different approach. I decided to go where I was pretty sure I would find some nice images. I went to Kernersville, North Carolina and the Paul J. Criener Botanical Garden.

I had been there before. I went there last year but I didn't see a lot of color and beautiful flowers. I made the mistake of going too late in the season and most of the very impressive flowers had already reached their peak. I was not going to make the same mistake this year. Below is a video I posted on my Roger Younce Photography Youtube Channel about my trip to  Kernersville.

I highly suggest if you are near the town of Kernersville of any location with a botanical garden, I suggest you take advantage of the photo opportunity to capture a few nice images of nature. Most nature photographers are aware that there is a small window of opportunity to get great shots. To learn more about the Paul J. Criener Botanical Garden visit Paul J. Criener Botanical Garden.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Restoring Faded Memories

Let's face it, everyone these days has a camera and millions of photographs are taken every day. Many photos are forgotten over time and some special photos can become damaged, faded, even worse, lost. Many people fail to remember how precious old photos are. Sadly, many old photos are usually stuffed away somewhere and forgotten. When they are found, that is when reality sets in and some smart owners of the image realize I have on one copy of the image and they need to get their photos restored and digitized. 

Just recently, I was given a couple of photos to restore and to see if I could bring back a little life to the old images. Both photos were over 20 years old and there was only original image for each photo. I really enjoy restoring old images. It is always a fun challenge to make an image better and it is a joy to see the clients or customer's reaction to a restored photo. Now I have to admit that in today's digital age and with access to cheap editing software, it is much easier to make an old photo look a little better, but it often times requires a level of skill, great post-processing software, and a "creative eye" to give an old photo some real life. That is where a good and talented photographer is needed. 

Many people that take photos think that what makes a photo look great is the camera. With today's cameras that is sometimes true. They think the free filters on a phone or iPad is all they need. In most cases, that is correct. But when it comes restoring an old image a little more work is sometimes required.  Old images did not come from a high-quality camera. Many times an old image may have come from a film camera or even worse a camera that would spit out an old paper image you had to shake the image to see it. Who remembers those? 

When I receive an old image it is usually the original print of an image. I actually prefer the old hard copies of images. For the two images, I needed to restore, I needed to scan them. One of the best investments I ever made was the purchase of my own flatbed scanner. As a photographer, I could not work without it. I always scan all old images at 300 dpi. After scanning old images, the real creative process begins. 

Restoring an image requires great software. Most people are only aware of filters they see on their iPhone or iPad. People are not aware of the types of great software that is available to help them enhance a photo. Let's face it, some people could care less about software. They are content with applying some weird filter to an image and passing the work off as a photo restoration success. That is not photo restoration! Understanding how to use post-processing photography software is very important in editing any image. Just ask a photographer. 

Most experienced photographers know they cannot enhance any photo without great software. I use a variety of software applications to enhance all my images. My primary post-processing software is Lightroom. I take advantage of many presets from Sleeklens. I have hundreds of them and I use many of them depending on the look I want for an image. Sleeklens presets gives me a great starting point for my editing process and saves me a great deal of time. Sleeklens is also are a great educational resource to help any photographer improve his or her skills as a photographer. To learn more about them visit presets, products, services, and resources visit;

Below is the original images I worked on and the enhanced versions. Since the original images were over 20 years old I wanted to keep the nostalgic feel of the images, enhance the colors and apply some much-needed sharpening. The best part about providing photo restoration and enhancement services for my clients and customers is the process of providing a digital image for them after the work is done. A digital image of a restored image can then be shared with others and can be available for many years to come. 

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My advice is to find all your old images and a scan them and make sure all your old images are stored in a safe location, preferably, off-site. If you find a nice old image that could use a little work, find a great talented photographer to restore the old image and don't rely on some cheap filters or no-named software to do the job. Remember, one-of-a-kind photos are "priceless". 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

The Car Hop

Sometimes as a photographer I get lucky and get to photograph subjects that I normally don't have access to. My passion is photographing landscapes, nature, wildlife and some portrait work, but I like to try other forms of photography when I can. About 2 years ago I attended a local car show in my town. I have always like photographing old cars. On that day, I was fortunate to be able to photograph a model that was there.

While walking around the car show I noticed that a few people were gathering around a car and I became curious. My wife and I went to the location to see what all the fuss was about. It turned out that people were gathering around to watch a model get her photo taken with some old cars. I noticed a photographer taking his photos and how the photographer seemed to be working together to get a few shots. My guess was the photographer was working on some type a pin-up calendar by the way the model was dressed. Of course, I did not want to interfere with the photographer and model but I thought it would be cool get a few images of the model since she was willing to pose for the shots. She seemed to not mind other photographers taking photos of her and providing several poses for the shoot. What was cool was the photographer planned his shot very well by providing the model with a variety of nice props to use for the shoot.

What is cool about having a model is that a model is someone that willing to pose for photos. It makes taking photos so much easier for the photographer. A good model pretty much knows the shots the photographer is trying to capture and goes through a variety of poses for the photographer. I was not her photographer but it was fun to try to capture a few images as she posed for her photo session with her photographer. I call my photo of the model the "Car Hop". I don't know who the model or who the photographer was but I do appreciate them letting take my photo. I think it turned out pretty nice.

 The Car Hop

The Car Hop

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Absorb, Discard, and Add to Your Photography

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One of my favorite quotes was by the legendary Bruce Lee. His quote was “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own" The quote can apply to so many things in life and even in one's photography. When I look at the quote I see three elements that are very powerful and meaningful. When it comes to photography I like to break down the quotes into each specific element, studying them, and apply them to my life.

The first element of the quote states that one should absorb what is useful. In photography, there are so many things that a creative person can study and obtain for his or her art. However, the question is, what is useful? Of course, the answer to that question is different for each individual. I see so many photographers that fail to absorb what is really useful. They feel everything is useful or important. The reality is, not everything is useful or even important. Many times we do not need the latest and greatest equipment, gadgets, and spend money on things that do not bring true value. I have seen some photographers spend so much time and energy on nonproductive adventures and materialist items that are not helpful and bring no real or productive value to their craft. There are those that devote a great deal of money on repetitive activities that bring no real value to the development of one's photography. Some photographers equate being extremely busy and spending money on what they believe will improve their skills as a useful benefit, but in reality, it is a waste of valuable time and energy that could be used more productively. 

The second part of the quote is disregarding what is useless. I actually love that part of the quote because I am all about ridding myself of things that I find useless. Useless things could be how I spend my time and money, ineffective communications, wasteful research, interacting with unsupportive people, and trying to revive worthless past practices that really are not productive. One of my latest productive actions involves Facebook. Using Facebook as well as Instagram to market my photography products and services was a waste of time and money. I was able to see that there was no value in continuing to use the social media outlets for my business and advertise my brand. Using Facebook and Instagram was a waste of time and money. I decided to discard Facebook as a marketing tool and unpublished my Facebook page. I actually deleted many other posts about my photography business, because I realized that many people were never really interested. Of course, I don't need to waste my time on such people.

The third element consists of adding what is specifically your own. Bruce Lee was a master at that. In his martial art practice, he studied all he could from others, hacked away the things he found useless and used what he determined was useful for him.  He made his martial art practice and study uniquely his own. The art of photography is somewhat similar. A great photographer studies other artist and works hard to improve his skills. Over time, a great photographer will learn what is useless and what is useful. He or she will eliminate what is not needed and focus on what will help him or her improve their skills. By doing so, he or she is free to create more effectively. Their work becomes a part of who they are and is uniquely their own.

Bruce Lee's quote has always been a great quote I that feel it can be applied to not only in photography but in life itself. I personally do not like wasting my time, energy, money, and life on useless activities. I do enjoy ridding myself of things and people that do not help me grow. There is nothing wrong with making things in your life uniquly your own; even in your own photograpy. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce

Nifty-Fifty Day

Today I wanted to have a little fun and do shot some images with a lens that I haven't used in a while, but really love to use. I wanted to go out on this beautiful day in Jamestown North Carolina and shoot some images with my old trusty Canon EF 1.8 50mm lens. I really had no real subjects in mind for my trip into town. However, I wanted to see if I could capture any nice photos in my little town. My goal was to find some images within a 5-mile radius from my home. This time of year the trees are starting to bloom and some beautiful flowers are starting to show up. So I wanted to concentrate on those types of subjects for my images.

Anytime I shoot with my 50mm lens my main objective is to find subjects with a lot color. I love shooting with the 50mm lens because of the availability of light and the sharpness of the images the little but powerful lens gives me. Today was a pretty nice day to do a little photography. The natural light was not too harsh and there was some cloud cover. I ventured out to see if any of the local parks in Jamestown had any colorful subjects to shoot. My main objective was to locate some flowers.

I wanted to share a few images of my trip today. I was pleased with the images because I did get what I was after; color and clarity.

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Every photographer should have a nifty-fifty lens in their bag. It is one of the most useful lenses a photographer can own. Yes, the lens can make a photographer work a little harder to get a shot, but that is fine with me. My 50mm lens has no stabilization and no zoom. So it requires me to really think about my shots. I had a lot of fun shooting some nice but simple images today. I got the opportunity to put my old trusty 50mm lens on my new Canon 80D camera and capture some nice images. What a great way to enjoy a beautiful day.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

New Mabry Mill Image Added to My Gallery

I just wanted to post an announcement that a new image of the Mabry Mill is now available on my gallery. The new version was taken in early Spring in the morning. You can find out some great historical information behind the Mabry Mill by visiting "History of the Mabry Mill" website. If you love old mills like I do, checkout my mage at  "The Store". The image is available for purchase as a metallic paper print of metal print and comes in a variety of sizes. To see a full view the image just click on the image on the store page.

 The Mabry Mill

The Mabry Mill

If you have any questions about the image please feel free to contact me.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Blue Ridge Mountains Visit and My New Camera

One of my favorite places to visit is the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia. I am pretty lucky to have access to both states. For me, the drive to my nearest access to the park is about two hours away. Each year I look forward to visiting the Parkway even though I see a lot of the same locations. A lot of people may find it crazy that I go back the same locations and photograph the same sites. For me, each visit is different depending on the time of the year.

This year was different for me because I purchased a new lens and a new camera and of course, I had to test them out at the Blue Ridge Parkway. The parkway was a great place to test my lens and camera. I have access to beautiful mountains, landscapes, valleys, and historic sites throughout the Parkway. I wanted to test out my new Canon 80D and see how well the dynamic range was on the camera. I had read the dynamic range was very impressive. I was very impressed with some photos I took while on my trip.

My first stop on my 9 hour trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway was the Mabry Mill in Virginia. The Mabry Mill is one of the most photographed locations on the entire parkway. Thousands of visitor from all over the world viist the Mabry Mill each year. Below is a little history of the mill.

Around 1905 Ed and his wife Lizzie Mabry set in motion actions to realize the dream of their own gristmill.  With the help of a neighbor, Newton Hylton, they built the gristmill, waterwheel, and water supply flume system with hard work and hand tools. By 1908 the gristmill was in operation and people from as far away as eight miles were bringing their corn to be ground.  Also by this time, Ed Mabry was ready to move on to his next project which was to build a sawmill on the left side of the gristmill.  While Ed was busy building the sawmill, Lizzie took over the milling duties at the gristmill.  Many said Lizzie was the better miller of the two.  There was a problem though.  Because the streams used to supply water to the mills were small, there was not enough needed water power.  Due to the lack of water power, the process of grinding the corn at the Mabrys’ mill took longer than at some of the other nearby mills.  Mills with plenty of water power would at times grind too fast.  The resulting friction turned to heat which would then burn and scorch the cornmeal leaving it tasting bitter.  Because of the low water power problem at the Mabrys’ mill, it was known as a slow grinder.  Due to this problem, the Mabrys could not grind the corn fast, but they also never burned or scorched the cornmeal which resulted in some of the best tasting corn meal around. This news spread fast which brought many loyal customers to the Mabry’s little mill.

Soon the sawmill was finished and Ed began to build a woodworking shop on the right side of the grist mill.  This shop had a double-bladed jigsaw, a wood lathe and a tongue and groover all run by the water-powered waterwheel.  This completed the gristmill complex with the sawmill, gristmill and woodworking shop all attached.

I really enjoy photographing the mill and try to visit each year. Last year, I got a take a great photo of the mill in the winter and frozen ice was on the wheel of the mill. This year I got a great shot in early Spring. The mill opens up in later April each year. For photographers, photographing the mill can be a challenge due to crowds each year. It is good to plan your photo shoot at the mill early in the year or after late October. In late October, the mill will be closed but it is easier to photograph the mill.

 The Mabry Mill

The Mabry Mill

I was able to get a couple of other images with my new camera that shows off the dynamic range of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Since it was Easter weekend I photographed this very colorful display that was positioned along the roadway. I had to stop and get the image. Last year I stopped in October and the display was covered with hay and pumpkins. This year's display featured some very colorful displays for Easter.

 Blue Ridge Parkway Easter Display

Blue Ridge Parkway Easter Display

Another great image was an image of the blue ridge mountains. I found this image fun to shoot. I wanted to capture the mountain range and the lone tree in the foreground gave the image a dramatic feel to the image. Many of the trees have so much character and a photographer could spend a week exploring just the trees along the parkway. I love the blue colors of the mountains and this photo demonstrates why the Parkway is so special.

 The Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains

I had a great time testing out my new camera and telephoto lens. I always enjoy visiting the parkway because every visit is unique. If you get a chance to visit North Carolina or Virginia, you have to take a day or two to stop and photograph the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is must-stop for any landscape photographer.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

 

Beautiful Looking Glass Falls

Every year I am always looking for places to visit and photograph before the crowds start arriving. I love to photograph waterfalls in North Carolina. Of course, I have my favorites. One of my favorites is Looking Glass Falls in near Asheville. It is a beautiful 60 ft waterfall and people come from all over the state to visit the waterfall. It is also a very popular summer hole for many people, including photographers. Looking Glass Falls is not like some waterfalls that are difficult to access and may require a lot of hiking. It is actually located roadside which makes it pretty easy to access. I had no problems taking my image because I chose to photograph the falls during the off-season. There was no one there. It was pretty nice to have the waterfall all to myself.

 Looking Glass Falls

Looking Glass Falls

It's pretty easy to access Looking Glass Falls by traveling on U.S. 276, Forest Heritage Scenic Byway, near Brevard in the Pisgah National Forest. To get to Looking Glass Falls, take U.S. 276 North from Brevard about six miles. Or take U.S. 276 South from the Blue Ridge Parkway for about 10 miles.

Directions from Downtown Asheville (about 36 miles): Take I-240 West / I-26 East. Continue on I-26 East to Exit 40 for Highway 280 (and the Asheville Airport). Take a right onto Highway 280 West and go 16 miles toward Brevard. As you enter the Brevard area, you will see a big shopping center on the right (with Wal-Mart). Just past the center, turn right onto US Highway 276 North (Forest Heritage Scenic Byway) to enter the Pisgah National Forest. Go 6 miles.

What is very cool about the waterfall is it is always open. If you go in the summer, be prepared to deal with the crowds. Getting a great image of the waterfall is very difficult in the summer months due to the volume of visitors at the falls. If you are a photographer that loves to photograph waterfalls in North Carolina, I highly recommend visiting Looking Glass Falls.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

 

Joining Youtube!

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I have finally decided to join the Youtube community and start posting some of my projects on Youtube. I knew the day would finally come when I would take the plunge. I am a photographer by choice because that is where my passion comes is. However, I have always been fascinated with how visuals come to life with video. I love to watch other Youtube videographers and photographer work on Youtube. I enjoy watching all types of videos and studying how they are created. So I have decided to share some of my work and journey as a photographer on Youtube. 

Starting my Youtube channel will be a challenge for me. The reason why is because I don't shoot a lot of videos. I need to learn to use video editing software. I normally don't work with video editing software. However, I am comfortable shooting images and small video clips but I need to improve my skills as a videographer. To do that it will require me learning new software. Since I am MAC user I have decided to use iMovie. Yes, I know it is not the greatest video editing software but it will be a good place for me to learn. I have quickly learned several of the important features for iMovie and have started playing around with editing video clips, adding music, adding transitions and other editing tools. I feel it will not be long before I purchase Final Cut Pro. My son has that software and he is very good with it. It will be nice to spend time with my son so he can show his "old man" some cool stuff using Final Cut Pro. 

I hope to have other projects posted in the future that will feature images and videos. My goal is simple. Become a better creative and tell a short. For me, being a "creative" is all about the journey. Sometimes the journey is not all about traveling to cool locations. For me, it will require me stepping out of my comfort zone and learning something new. You are invited to join me on my journey. 

Until then, check out my latest biker portrait slideshow on my Youtube Channel

Feel free to subscribe to my new Roger Younce Youtube Channel and let others know about it. If you have a Youtube Channel I would love to see it. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

The Benefits of Quitting Social Media

Well, I finally did it. I finally decided to cut the cord with all my social media accounts. Some people may ask why. It's pretty simple. My social media accounts were providing me with no value, wasted a lot of my time and energy, and I wasted a good chunk of change trying to promote my Roger Younce Photography business using social media. I fell into the trap of trying to build an audience and like most social media addicts I wanted to have more likes, followers, clicks, and have my boosted promotions viewed.  After 2 years of using social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Vero, and Instagram I realized that using social media was a complete waste of my time. I even had 510 followers on my Roger Younce Photography Facebook page. I have no idea if I really had 510 followers, but Facebook wanted to make me think I did. Did I mention I hate Facebook?

I have been considering getting off my social media sites and apps for a long time. Then my son sent out a post about landscape photographer, Dave Morrow, who explained why he deleted his social media accounts. After reading his comments and watching his video about the subject, it made me realize I just needed to do it. I had been thinking about it for a long time. You can read his story, This Photographer Deleted His Social Media with 1.5 Million Followers or watch his video. 

Over the last 2 or 3 years, I have spent a tremendous amount of time on social media sites that I could have spent doing things to help me become a more productive photographer. I was focusing on the numbers of hours I spent on photography and the number of photos I could post. I figured if I posted a lot of my work on social media sites or got a lot of likes, received so-called friends, or followers that would equal success and be profitable. I was totally wrong. Sadly, it took me 3 years to realize my mistake. 

This morning was my first morning of not grabbing my phone and checking for new comments, likes, or followers on my social media accounts. It felt great to not have those accounts to check and I immediately felt I had new energy to focus on other things. I immediately began thinking about what I could do with my new free time. I began making a list of the things I wanted to do with my new free time. I will work more on developing my website, planning more blog posts, study videography and incorporate that art into my photography and other creative processes. I want to become a better photographer by studying others work, watch tutorials, and other photographers on Youtube. I want to work with other photographers and videographers. I want to travel and take better quality images than I have taken in the past. That will require me to go back to some of the same locations that I have visited in the past. I want to spend more time in nature and less time behind a computer screen. By not having wasteful social media accounts to read, I can do that now. 

As a photographer or a creative person, do you find spending time on social media sites helps you or hinders you? Some people say social media is just part of our culture today. I have said this before, social media is not social. It is an illusion. My advice is cut the cord and get off social media. Spend more time doing things that are much more productive and creative. Go out and create something awesome!

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Dumping Facebook

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It seems that Facebook is very much in the news today and in my opinion, the news is not good. I have learned a great deal about Facebook over the last couple of years and I have learned it is pretty much a waste of time for me and my photography business. My Roger Younce Photography Facebook page has been active for over 2 years. I have tried boosting ad for my business services and products. As a result, I have wasted a lot of time and money hoping Facebook would help me advertise my business. Getting a large number of Facebook clicks from a post does not equal earning money for one's services or products. I believe the number of clicks was actually fake anyway. What frustrates me the most is not knowing if my efforts were even worth it. As a Facebook user with a business, I have no idea if anyone is even seeing my post. I have been stuck on 510 likes for my Roger Younce Photography
Facebook page for over 6 months. I know that is not accurate. 

After some thought, I have decided to unpublish my Roger Younce Photography Facebook account. I have determined it provides me with no value, has wasted a lot of my time, and cost me money in boosting my post. Starting today, a large part of my business advertising and networking will be through my website. I have control of the content of my own site. I have access to analytical data I can review because I use Square Space for my web hosting. I can reach more users if I use the proper tools and methods to bring more visitors to my website. In other words, I don't have to rely on Facebook anymore. Facebook, in my opinion, is a dying platform anyway. I see no value in it. 

Do you have an opinion on the effectiveness of Facebook to advertise your business? Feel free to leave your comments. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

 

 

Stay Away from the Internet Trolls

Do you like motivational quotes and like to follow people that inspire you? I know I do. With the Internet and especially through social media, I see many motivational quotes from people that really inspire me. Now don't get me wrong, I don't need a lot of motivation when it comes to pursuing what I like and many of my goals. However, a nice quote never hurts. 

What I routinely see on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are people that don't seem to have any goals so they do there best to belittle others goals and aspirations. Those types of people hate motivational quotes and really don't little successful people. I chalk that type of negativity to pure jealousy. I call such negative people "trolls". According to Lifewire, a troll is "Someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”. Those that don't have goals enjoy making fun of others with goals, their goal in life. Below is a quote from a Casey Neistat, a guy that many people may not know but is a very successful vlogger on Youtube. Casey Neistt has an unbelievable number of followers and inspires a lot of vloggers, videographers, film makers, and photographers. 

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For many people that follow him, he is very inspirational. I actually like the guy and he very entertaining. If you look at his quote, you may say his quotes are common sense quotes. However, those that don't know him or like him may not have any of that. Besides, how many of us have read a great quote and have said I like that quote, but 5 minutes later forgot it?  When I find a great quote that inspires me, I write it down and post it so I don't quickly forget it. 

Many people like to stifle creators creativity because they don't have the desire to be better and a have no creativity of their own. They don't set goals for themselves. They have no interest in anything except putting people down. Trolls thrive on the Internet and throughout many social media platforms. They don't take chances or take action to achieve any specific goals. However, they do spend a great deal of wasted time putting down those that do. Take photography for example. I have goals that I set out to achieve. Some of my main goals are longterm. Many of my photography goals are broken down by daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly goals. I have plans and action steps that I work on to achieve my goals each and every day. I hate the word "try". If at all possible, I don't use that word. My photography and lifetime goals required action, not trying. Talk is cheap! One of my favorite quotes about taking action is from the late great Bruce Lee who said,“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” I have always liked that quote and strive every day to follow it in all aspects of my life. 

I admire those that are proactive in their pursuits in life. I love to read, watch, and study them. I like Casey Neistat because he is a man of action and that alone is inspiring to watch on his Youtube channel. You can find Casey's Youtube Channel by visiting "Casey Neistat". I personally enjoy hanging out with such people. However, it is hard to find those people anymore. Oh well, I will have to make it one of my new goals to find more of those people. Better yet, I will strive to help inspire others by taking action. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger  

Stabilization is Kind of Important for Sharper Images

Every photographer knows that there is more to taking a photo than just clicking a button. There are so many elements to keep in mind when it comes to taking a photo. But, one thing I find not mentioned enough for beginner photographers is the need for stabilization and why it is important to keep in mind when planning a photo shoot. In this post, I will explain how I forgot to keep stabilization in mind on a recent photo shoot at a car show in Greensboro NC called "Cars and Coffee". 

I decided to attend the car show for the first time even though I have lived in Greensboro many years. It is that time of year when I look for photo opportunities and like to photograph beautiful cars. So, I decided to attend the Cars and Coffee event. The event was a pretty big event. When I arrived I had no idea the event was that popular. There were cars and trucks of all types and it was interesting to see the cars and the size of the crowd. 

Prior to my trip, I had to decide what gear I would need for the event. I felt it was important that I took my wide angle lens, new Canon 80D, cell phone for taking a quick video, and my tripod. I even took my 50mm lens. I felt that was all gear I would need. I knew that I would need the wide angle lens and I would have to get fairly close to each vehicle to get a decent shot. My original plan was to use my tripod to help me get some very sharp images. But that did not happen. I decided when I arrived at the location that I was not going to have the luxury to set up for my shots and set a 2-second timer like I normally do. There were way too many people and I knew they were not going to cooperate with that plan. So, I decided to leave my tripod in my vehicle and just shot "hand-held". 

Here is why it is important to remember the type of gear you have and do a little additional planning for any photo shoot. In my case, I had no stabilization. My new Canon 80D does not have stabilization. I knew that. However,  I thought my wide angle lens did. I was wrong about that. You are probably wondering if my tripod would have helped. Yes, it would if I could have used it. The problem was there were too many people around for me to set up properly. That is why I left it in my vehicle. 

So, whose fault was it that I could not get the sharp images I wanted to get? Why that would be me. I did not take into consideration stabilization. All of my lenses have "stablization", except for my wide-angle. I forgot that little detail. So, what did I learn from my experience? I learned I need to do a little more in-depth planning and take into consideration all the obstacles I will have when I get to a location. A car show sounds like it can be an easy location to shoot but it is not. Every car show I have ever attended was very difficult for me and I can imagine it is for many photographers. The conditions can be very challenging. 

I learned that no matter how bad I want to use car photos for my gallery it is not going to happen. There are too many people getting into the shots, many times the sun is directly in your eyes, vehicle's glass causes a great deal of glare, and most car shows are pretty unorganized. The Cars and Coffee Car Show was very unorganized. 

With all that said, there really is no excuse for not properly planning for the car show. I learned a valuable lesson about the need to plan for stabilization issues. I can not blame anyone but me for not getting sharper images from the car show. Below is just one of the images I was able to salvage from the photo shoot with a little help with some Sleeklens presets and Lightroom. It is not a great image but the best one I got. I will do better next time. 

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Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Does Your Photography Website Represent You

Do you have your own photography website? Does it represent you? I have always been interested in studying other photographers work and wanting to find out if their website (if they have one) represents them or does their website reflect what they feel their audience wants to see. A website can be important for any business and can be very important for photographers. Most photographers want to share their work and receive feedback from others using a variety of methods. Today, many photographers share their work on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero. Those are great advertising methods but they really don't allow others to get to know a photographer. Sadly, having a good photography website is slowly becoming a thing of the past. But, websites can be very effective if a photographer can create a website that that truly represents them. My question is, do a lot of photographers give up their creativity to please others, achieve fame, or seek to make a buck or two? I tend to notice that with many photography websites. 

What I see when reviewing a lot of photography websites is a lot of repetitive information given by photographers that is not that original. That is not really the photographer's fault. Photography information and topics can be very repetitive. Repetitive photography tips, tricks, and technological information can become very overwhelming to many people and sometimes, very boring. When having your own website it can be very easy to get hung up on repeating the same information over and over again and losing your audience on your own website. What most photographers struggle with is creating new content that is informational and entertaining while hopefully keeping an audience. Many of today's photography websites do not do that. 

In my opinion, a photographer's website can be more interesting if it can effectively represent the photographer and what he or she wants to photograph regardless of all the advice by other photographers. Some photographers say you should focus on a particular style of photography and make that one style your specialty. Some photographers say you should shoot all types of photography and be well-rounded.. I really don't follow the logic behind either view. I feel that you should photograph the type of photography you enjoy and are passionate about. I feel one's website would be more effective if more photographers would do that instead of trying to follow the same model as others. Many times being original as a photographer can be very cool and personally rewarding.

Not that my website will win any awards but I do like to create and build my website based on what I like to photograph and how I feel about photography in "my world". I like to express my views on having my own photography business. I can do that because it is my website and I can be as creative as I want to be.  I am aware of what types of photography that I don't care for or enjoy doing. If you look at my website you will not see a definite theme. My website is not technology based. I don't share a lot of tips, tricks, or gear information. I am actually all over the place. I photograph landscapes, wildlife, nature, and even biker portraits. I photograph such subjects because that is what I like and I find creatively rewarding. I don't photograph images just to please others. If others like my images, , products, services, and views, that's great. But, pleasing everyone is not my main goal. 

Trying to develop a website and a style that will please everyone is not my ultimate objective. My website reflects who I am as a photographer and as a creative person. I enjoy creating new images, styles, unique products, and services that I find fascinating and interesting. If one looks at my website one can see that it does represent me. I love to visit landscapes and photograph their beauty. I love to capture interesting images of nature. I enjoy photographing amazing animals. I am very passionate about capturing images that tell a story. I want to offer products and services that I find interesting and I believe others will too. I want to share my thoughts about photography and life in my blog to anyone that might find my views interesting. I want others feedback. Those are just a few things about my website that represents who I am and my photography journey. 

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So do you have a website that features the same information that other photographers post? Or, does your photography website reflect your style, creativity, and your uniqueness? My advice is not to follow everyone else but study them, learn from others and share yourself with an interesting website. Keep in mind anyone can build a flashing website with all types of information that is many times very repetitive. People will visit a website with a personal touch. Allow them to take a journey with a photographer. If you have a website that truly represents you, people will want to follow you on your journey. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Number of Social Media Followers and Likes Mean Nothing

Have you ever wondered how some people that use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other popular media platforms get so many likes and followers? One would think that some people that have so many likes and followers must be doing something right to get such a large following, right? The reality is the number of followers or likes mean very little when using some of the most popular social media. Take my Roger Younce Photography Facebook page for example. It is a small Facebook page that has over 500 likes. One would think that I have a lot of people that like my content. The reality is, I get very little traffic to my Facebook page and many people don't realize how much control to our Facebook pages and content we DON'T have. So the question is, why is it?

Facebook is not the only useless way to think we have a lot of followers and likes. Twitter, Instagram, and Vero are just as bad. I like to do a little experiment when studying my traffic to my social media outlets. I like to see if I can view just how many people visit my website and view my content. I am pretty proactive when it comes to putting out content, uploading photography news, adding new photos, updating information, and putting out a blog post on a consistent basis. When I do put out content I like to view my traffic source details to see where my visitor originates from. I use Square Space and they have great analytical tools that allow me to review my web traffic views from all over the world. The analytical tools provide me with some interesting and detailed stats of my overall web traffic. 

One of the things I like to do is post some content on my website and then go to my social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Vero, and Instagram and post that new information that has been posted to my website. I always create a hyperlink to the resources to make it easier for visitors to view the content. So all they really have to do is click on the link to visit a page where the content is loaded. Here is the interesting part. When I put content out to the social media outlets I get a lot of new likes and followers on the social media platforms. That sound awesome, right? Not exactly. The reality is 99 percent of the people that say they liked the content never visited the site. That brings up an interesting question;

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I feel that social media platforms give people and businesses false data that they should never rely on to measure success. Social media data is very unreliable. If you have a business and a website that allows you to track real-time web traffic and you can use the data to help build your business I suggest you take advantage of the analytical data and not so much on how many followers and likes you have in your social media feeds. Follows and likes mean nothing. One last thing, using emails or email advertising is just as useless. Many times, when you sent out information via emails, very few people click on those links too. 

The bottom line is, those that truly like your content and actively follow you will appreciate your work. Don't waste your time or your productivity in an effort to reach those that really aren't following you or liking your work. You don't need them anyway, right?

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger