The Importance of Capturing Images of Yourself

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Isn't it crazy how a tragic death of a friend or family member can put life into perceptive and remind us of how important memories of a friend or loved can be? Sometimes we lose a special person quickly and without notice and wished we had spent more time with them. Not spending more time with family and a friend is something we seem to regret when we find out that special someone has passed. We long to hear them talk, see their expressions, and to be able to go back and capture those special events and days with them all over again. The sad reality is, we can't.

Remembering an Old Friend

I recently had an old Air Force buddy pass away very quickly and suddenly. It was a shock to many people. My friend was actually pretty young. He was one of the kindest and most caring guys I had ever met. He loved life and he was loved by so many. I was fortunate to have lunch with him about 10 years ago and it was the last time I actually spoke to him. However, I was able to follow him on Facebook for the last few years. It was a shock to hear of his sudden passing.

Collecting Memories

After being notified of his passing I scrambled to find photos and videos of my friend. The sad reality is I had very few photos and no videos of my buddy. This was not the first time I had a friend pass away quickly. I had another Air Force buddy who passed away and I learned a valuable lesson from that experience. That lesson was to collect and keep as many photos and videos of old friends and family members so I could remember them in the future. So, every opportunity I could get, I would download images and videos of my friends and family in case they passed away suddenly. I wanted to be able to look at old photos and videos so I could remember the days we spent together. Today, each photo and video are priceless to me.

Recording Yourself

Thankful, I understood quickly how important photos, audio, and video can be when it comes to remembering someone, special memories, once-in-a-lifetime events and other special moments in my life. But, have you ever thought about how important it is to record video and photograph yourself? For many people having a photo or video shot of them is something they don't like to do. They feel they don't look good in videos and photographs. Many people fail to realize that when you are gone your loved ones and those that cared about you could care less how you looked, what you were wearing, how you sounded, how old you are, or anything else superficial. They just want to be able to see you again or at least an image of you. Today, that is very easy to record and photograph yourself. It just takes the willingness to do it. If not for you, at least for those that care about.

Leaving Your Legacy

I feel images, either photos or video is very important. Simple imagery help remind others of who you were. For example, I have 2 grandsons that I want to remember their "Pappy" long after I am gone. I don't know how long I will be around and I want them to have something to remember me by. Having images of parents and grandparents are important. I wished I had more photos of my grandparents. I have only a couple of photos and videos of one of my grandmothers that I cherish. I have no images of my other grandmother or great-grandparents. It would be so special to have just one image of them today. Of course, I can't have that but I can leave my own legacy for my grandchildren.

Taking Action

I can make a conservative effort to record myself, either through photos or video. A video is the best way for one to leave a part of their legacy. A video is very nice because one can leave a recording of their voice and those that love and miss them can hear their voice for years to come. Shooting your own videos allows you to tell others of your thoughts on a variety of subjects, your likes, dislikes, and you can ever share your life's story. You cannot do that with a photograph. In the future, I will record more of me. I will create videos of myself talking about things that are important to me. It will be a way to share a part of who I am and who I was. I will leave photos and videos for my wife, son, and my two little grandsons. Recording myself is something I have control of and something I feel is very important. I just need to sometimes remind myself how important photos and videos can be for others.

Thanking My Old Friends

I would like to thank my old Air Force buddies for reminding me how important images and memories can be. I will always remember those that were a part of my life, even if was only for short time. RIP, my friends and thank you for the memories.

Roger

Hey Creatives! Stop Seeking Others Opinions That Really Don't Care

Have you ever created a cool photo, video, drone shot, other creative product and noticed that some people don't really care about it? I see it all the time. Creatives get so excited about a product, project, or an adventure they took and some people could care less. That is ok. The problem is creatives don't seem to realize that not everyone is interested in their work. Many people could care less about what it took to capture a unique image, create a film, how much time it takes to capture b-roll, how a great drone clip was shot, how much time and money it takes to get capture an image, how a photo or video was edited or just about any part of the creative process. So, if most people don't care, why do creatives still continue to seek others approval or feedback? It is not that a creator did anything wrong or the product was bad. It is that not everyone has a creative mind and most people don't think like most creatives.

Here is the bottom line. Everyone does not care about your creative process. Most family members, friends, co-workers, the public, and just about everyone you think might get excited about your creative projects, don't really care. That is just the facts and as a creative, you have to just accept that. You also have to get away from those people. Not that you have to not associate with them, you just need to keep them out of your creative environment. In a way, they can greatly affect your creative work by making you doubt your work. Too much rejection could actually cause you to want to quit. That is not good.

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The best thing to do is find other like-minded creatives to talk to and communicate with. For example, I have a friend that is a very knowledgeable and talented painter. I love to hear him speak about his art and his painting. I love the conversations and our conversations get me excited to do what I do. We respect one another. I understand his mindset and he understands mine. My son is a very talented graphic designer, photographer, videographer and he is very creative. Some of my favorite conversations are about the creative process and discussion what projects we have going on. Sometimes we even work together which is always fun. Other creatives don't even have to do the same type of work. But they will be more likely to understand how a creative mind works and respect your art, talents, and struggles you go through to create. They can also provide an environment that may lead to more creative projects in the future.

I have learned over time that I should never create something for others and trying to create for others is a waste of time, money, and energy. I should create for myself and because I enjoy the process. If someone truly enjoys my product or services they will want them. My primary purpose is not to create and do things for money. I create because of the challenge and to simply 'create" something cool.

So stop trying to recruit others in to loving your work. The reality is, most people don't really care and you should use your time, energy, money, and talents wisely by creating something cool. You don't need others approval, just yours.

Until next time!

Roger

Choosing a New DJI Drone

Well, it is time to make a decision on what drone I will purchase next. Just recently I decided to sell my DJI Phantom Pro 3 drone. My original plan was to keep the PP3 until Springtime and then sell it to help purchase a newer drone. Then I started thinking that I was most likely not going to be flying my drone too much during the winter so I decided to sell it early. I figured until I find a buyer I would continue to use it. Little did I know, I was going to sell it faster than I expected. I was able to sell the PP3 in one day. I sold it to a gentleman from Greensboro who just happen to have several drones and he said he was experienced in flying them. However, he did not have a DJI Phantom Pro 3. I was a little nervous about a guy buying the drone and not have any experience in flying a PP3. It all worked out because he was experienced in flying other drones. That was good news for me because the last thing I wanted to do was sell my drone to a novice and he ended up crashing it and claiming the drone was defective and he wanted his money back. Thankfully, I did not have to deal with that issue.

After selling my PP3 I knew I had to save up some funds to purchase a new drone fairly quickly. Saving up money to buy a new drone is one issue I have to deal with but another important issue is what drone do I select for my next drone. I know I will be buying a new DJI drone and it will not be the Phantom Pro 4. I liked my PP3 but I wasn't too thrilled with having to carry around a large case to transport the drone. If I bought the PP4 would have to deal with the hassle of carrying it around like I did the PP3.

I want something more portable. The dilemma is DJI has some very nice small, high quality, portable drones. DJI has the Spark, DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Mavic Pro Platinum, and Mavic Pro 2. My dilemma is figuring out which one to buy. As with any purchase, there are many factors to take into consideration and DJI makes making a decision very difficult. However, my decision will be based on two important factors; price and needs.

I am the type of guy that looks at many reviews when purchasing any product and looking at reviews online and on Youtube is how I normally select a product I plan to purchase. I have been looking at many resources and Youtube channels to find reviews from not only tech reviewer but more importantly reviews from those that have purchased several types of DJI drones. I needed specs information on each drone type as well as hands-on reviews from users that have a lot of experiences with drones. One thing I am very aware of is that many Youtuber reviews can be very misleading because some YouTubers have hidden agendas when it comes to giving true product reviews on purchasing drones. They get paid to endorse them to make money.

One good review that I did like was a review from "Cruising Off Duty" on Youtube. The review was good because it provided me with a good comparison between the DJI Mavic Pro and Mavic Pro 2. I have been eyeing both of them. Even though the reviewer was new to the Mavic Pro 2 drone when he tested it he did give a nice breakdown between the two drones. The drone specs between the two drones can be found at DJI Mavic Pro and DJI Mavic Pro.

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Mavic Pro

After reading dozens of reviews and looking at many Youtubers that do photography and shoot videos with drones I have to make a decision before Springtime. Do I buy what I know is the best drone or do I buy a very nice drone that is very popular, is much cheaper in price, and will most likely fulfill my photography and video needs? Based on the specs of the Mavic Pro 2, it is a much better all around drone. But the price tag is very high. It looks like I could get a Mavic Pro 2 for around $1500. Of course, that does not include extra batteries, SD, and other needed essentials.

Mavic Pro 2

Mavic Pro 2

Or I could purchase the Mavic Pro for around $1100 that would include 2 extra batteries. I have to decide is paying up to $700 more for the newest drone worth it. From what I have read from those that have purchased a DJI Mavic Pro they are very pleased with it. I have also read that many of those same people would buy the Mavic Pro 2 in a heartbeat if the price tag wasn't so high.

I will hold off and conduct more research on the DJI Mavic Pro and Mavic Pro 2. I will also be waiting to find out if there will be any sales on the two drones. I have plenty of time to do more research. As of today, I am leaning toward the DJI Mavic Pro because I feel it will fill all my needs as a photographer and videographer.

So do you have a DJI Mavic Pro or Mavic Pro 2? If you do, what do think of your drone? If you don't have a DJI drone are you considering buying one? If so, which one? I would love to find out your views on the drones. Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Until next time!

Roger

Go Ahead and Shoot Yourself

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Isn't the title of this post catchy? When I say people should shoot themselves I am referring to photographing or shooting video of themselves. Why? It is simple. Because today in our society recording your life is so easy to do. We see people all the time doing selfies, taking video, uploading videos to Youtube and other social media sites. Of course, most of the videos and photos are trashy, meaningless and have no real value or real purpose. However, shooting video can be very important and can serve a real and meaning purpose when it comes to recording your life.

Shooting video is a lot of fun and is pretty easy to do these days. Everyone has a camera and shooting all types of videos. However, most people don't seem to understand how shooting stories of their life and special events can be very important for future generations. People fail to realize that if they take the time to record themselves they can leave a part of their life's story and legacy behind for others. Think about it. How much do you think your family and friends truly know about you and your life? I would guess very little. Do they know when you were born, stories about your childhood, where you went to school, how you met the love of your life, your friends, historical events that affected you throughout your life, the birth of your children, precious photos of family and friends, your plans growing up, your achievements, your failures, and even your regrets. All that can be told "BY YOU" through video and on a simple little device called a camera.

The good thing is today we all have the ability to record our life and create a biography of ourselves to pass on to others long after we are gone. We can tell our own life story in our own words. Those words and visuals can be shared with our children, grand children, extended family members, and friends. All it takes is the willingness to take the time to sit down and record yourself or have your personal biography professionally done. I remember when I researching how to create personal biographies for my customers a gentleman made an important statement during a testimonial that I will never forget. He said he wanted to have his story told so he could share his life story with others long after he is gone. The biggest statement that touched me was when he stated that his grandmother was Native American and would have loved to had the opportunity to see her and hear her life story in her own words via video.

Today it is so easy to shoot/record yourself. It just takes the willingness to understand the importance of leaving a piece of your legacy behind for you those you love. Forget how old you are, how you look, if you can speak effectively, or how you may sound in a video. No one will really care. All they want is to hear is you telling your own story. Recording yourself can make that happen and it is not that difficult to do today. The bottom line is, we can all record silly or worthless video to put on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. Or we can record video that is meaningful and priceless. It just takes the willingness to do it.

Until next time!

Roger

Understanding Your Drones Capabilities

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How well do you know your photography gear? I was thinking about that and realized I don't know everything I need to know about my drone and its capabilities. I am pretty familiar with camera settings but I wasn't too impressed with my drone shots. To me, they seemed sorta flat. My first reaction was the drone camera was not that great. Then I started thinking, maybe it is me. So I started doing a little "Youtubing" and found I was not as familiar with the drone camera settings as I should be, especially the photo settings. I was finding that many of my photo images were not good at all and I needed to get a better understanding of the settings and learn more about how to more effective usage out of the available manual setting options.

Most people that have a drone that has a camera normally know enough to get the drone in the air and have the auto setting do all the work. That is not knowing your drone and its capabilities. Many times you end up with bad photos and sometimes those photos are unusable. Unusable photos equal a waste of time. I don't like wasting my time when I flying my drone. Those that know about drone batteries understand you have a limited time when it comes to battery life and time is important when trying to get good images.

It is important to understand how your drone works. You can't always blame poor quality shots on the drone. It is good to dig deeper into your drone settings. All photographers must fully understand ISO, shutter speed, types of formats, and aperture settings when using a camera. That includes the drone camera. Yes, auto settings are cool but that is also the lazy way to do. Manual settings can be very cool and produce some amazing images even when using a drone. You just have to be willing to dig a little deeper if you want to improve as a drone photographer and get great quality shots.

Knowing how your gear works are so important when it comes to doing photography. That is equalling important as a drone pilot. As a certified drone pilot I understand no one is going hire me if my images and videos are not a good as they should be. It is very important to embrace seeking knowledge of my gear. Knowledge is cool and never-ending. That also applies to any drone that has ability to shoot great images. What I have learned is not to blame my gear when it come to photography. It is me that needs to put in the work and learn as much as I can about all the gear I use, especially, when it comes to my drone.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Photographers Who Inspire Me

Do you have a photographer that inspires you? Most creatives have those they admire. I have some people that inspire me to become a better photographer, try new things, get out of my comfort zone, and explore different types of photography and creative adventures. 

Today I want to tell you about four creatives that inspire me every day to become a better photographer. 

Nick Page

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One of the first photographers I learned about when I got serious about becoming a photographer was Nick Page. Just about every photographer knows about Nick. Nick is a unique photographer that has humble beginnings. He is actually a self-taught photographer. He is from one of my favorite states for photography, Washington. He is from Southern Eastern Washington. He is a very talented and well-rounded photographer. I have always admired his landscape and travel photography. I love his images because no matter what the subject is, his images have a moody feel to them. I love his amazing coastal images the most. He is also a world traveler. His has visited many locations including China. It amazes me how he has learned so much on his own. He's also very humble and that is many times rare in the photography world. To learn more about Nick check out the links below;

Nick Page Website: www.nickpagephotography.com
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxv1rK6prSp2aoNqNyxD_Vg
Facebook: @nickpagephotography 
Instagram: @nickpagephotography

Thomas Heaton

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Another great photographer that inspires me is Thomas Heaton. Thomas is also a landscape and travel photographer from the UK. He is a very popular Youtuber. I really enjoy Thomas’s work because not only is he a great photographer he is one who likes to explain his shots and is a very patient photographer. It is not unusual to follow Thomas on one of his travels and find out he never took a photo. He is one to live in the moment and enjoy the journey and the beauty of the location he is in. Thomas is also a minimalist when it comes to his photography. I like that. His work can also be described as abstract. Thomas’s Youtube channel is also a lot of fun to watch and very popular. I admire his love for photography and his simple approach to it. To learn more about Thomas Heaton check out the links below;

Thomas Heaton Website: https://thomasheaton.co.uk
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfhW84xfA6gEc4hDK90rR1Q
Instagram: @Heatonthomas

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Brendon Porter and Aaron King (Photog Adventures)

Not all the photographers I admire work alone. Two of my favorite photographers are Brendon Porter and Aaron King from the beautiful state of Utah. Brendon and Aaron are masters at the art of night photography. Both guys visited my state of North Carolina last year to see the Autumn colors and visit the Blue Ridge Parkway. Both Brendon and Aaron have their own business and very popular Podcast called the “Photog Adventures”. As you can guess from the title they travel to various locations to take photos not only in their state but all over the country. I admire both guys because of their knowledge of night photography but also their love of landscape photography. When I got the chance to hang out with them I was blown away about their love for photography and the desire to seize every moment to get the most out of their adventures. I was also blown away at the friendship and how they feed off one another. 

What makes their adventures so unique is when they record their adventures they tell you everyone about what went right and what went wrong. Their adventures are very entertaining and I always learn something from them. Brendon and Aaron inspire me to enjoy photography and take advantage of every photography adventure. To learn more about Brendon, Aaron, and Photog Adventures check out their links below;

Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/user-407436417
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/PhotogAdventures
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/photogadventures/

Jordan Younce

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As you can guess from the name, Jordan Younce is my son. He is also one amazing real estate photographer. Every time I see his work I am amazed at how talented he is. I also have no idea where he got his talents from. Jordan is a great NC real estate photographer, podcaster, trainer, videographer, and manager with of Sleeklens. Jordan’s love has always been real estate photography. He loves residential and commercial photography. 

Our relationship is unique. We love photography and going on photo shoots together. I really enjoy going with him when he does a real estate photo shoot. I love so much from him. 

Jordan’s residential interior photos are the best I have ever seen and in my opinion, no one can match his interior home images. I would describe his interior images as fresh and clean. He as the ability to make a routine reality location come to life. I admire Jordan’s desire to go the extra mile for his clients. He offers additional services such as video and drone services that blows me away. I know by watching Jordan, I will become a better real estate photographer. He inspires me to become a better “all-around” photographer. To learn more about Jordan check out the links below;

Jordan Younce Photography: http://www.photographynorthcarolina.com
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH6ISG59IG_yg75x3_n2mXg
Instagram: @jordanyounce

There are so many photographers that inspire me. The four photographers I mentioned produce so much great content and have very impressive photography skills. Their adventures are fun to watch too. They truly do inspire me. So do have a favorite photographer that inspires you? If you do, who are they? I would love to hear your stories and why they inspire you.

Until next time, keep shooting! 

Roger

The Power of Post-Processing

In this post, I want to talk about post-processing images. In today's world, everyone is taking photos and doing some type of post-processing of their images. Today it is very easy to use some free or cheap post-processing apps or software to edit your photos. Some apps are very powerful and easy to use. However, it is important to understand not all post-processing apps and software is not the same and you can use a variety of combinations of software to get some amazing effects. The bottom line is, photo post-processing is very important for any photographer. 

So what is photo post-processing? According to Improved Photography, photo post-processing is "When shooting JPEG the camera is doing this for you in a pre-determined way that can't be reversed. When shooting RAW the photographer has to (or gets to) do this on the computer. This cooking of the RAW image using the software on a computer is one form of post-processing". So what can of software can you use to post-process your photos besides smartphone filters? The reality is there are a variety of software products you can use, like Photoshop, Lightroom, Luminar, Arora, etc... Most software products can make a big difference in most images. However, it does take patience, the willingness to learn the software and be willing to invest in some more advanced post-processing software. 

Presets can be very helpful when it comes to improving your images. According to According to Verno Ho Photography,  "a preset is a pre-configured look that you can apply to any number of photos with one click. If you're familiar with using filters in Instagram, VSCO, or any other photo editing application, then you're already familiar with using presets". The great thing about presets is you can get many great presets packages from very experienced photographers and companies. One of my favorite resources for presets bundles is Sleeklens. Sleeklens offers and wide-range of packed presents for Lightroom and Photoshop. They even have training courses to help improve your photography skills. To learn more about Sleeklens presets you can visit Sleeklens . I highly recommend their preset packages and training courses. 

So is there a big difference when you use post-processing software? Why, yes there is. Take a look at this photo of the USS Battleship North Carolina I edited. The image was shot in RAW and edited with two different software post-processing products; Lightroom CC and Aurora HDR. As you can see from the initial original photo the image has no detail and the image is basically a flat unimpressive image. However, if you apply some of the features using a great software program you can dramatically improve the image and make the image come alive. With presets, you can experiment with a variety of looks for an image. If you maintain the original RAW image you can re-edit the image as many times as you like. That is the fun part of post-processing your images. 

Initial RAW Image

Initial RAW Image

After Post-Processing

After Post-Processing

Photo-processing can make an image so much better. Filters on smartphones are cool, but nothing compares to software designed specifically to improve your photos. Keep in mind that it is a good idea to try a combination of software programs. It can greatly improve your images. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

 

 

Why Photographing Special Events Are Important

Photographing events can be a challenge and a lot of fun. On the 4th of July, I wanted to attend a special event in my little town of Jamestown NC. Jamestown routinely has events to celebrate special holidays and honors our nation's veterans. On July 4th, they held a special ceremony of the raising of the Betsy Ross flag and I wanted to photograph the event. 

The Betsy Ross Flag

The Betsy Ross Flag

I really enjoy photographing special events. I realize that photographing and videoing special events are important because photographs help captures special moments in time. I don't look at images the way many people do. For some, a photograph is a nice thing to have and may not be that meaningful at the time. But as time goes on, a photograph or video becomes priceless.  I look at not only the photograph but the subjects in the photographs. I wonder who they, their life, and where will they be later on in life. A photograph allows me to capture that very special moment in time. 

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The reality of how powerful a photograph came to me after I had photographed a veteran's ceremony in the small town of Sawmills North Carolina. I did some photography work for the mayor of the town. I had actually done some photo restoration work for him before I even met him. Then I got to meet him at a ceremony that he was hosting. When I met him he introduced me as his personal photographer to his friends, which I was honored. I photographed the event and I wanted to make sure I captured many photos of veterans in the ceremony as well photos of the mayor. I am glad I did. A few months later, sadly, the mayor passed away. It was a shock to many people. I was a shock to me. He was not an old man and seemed in good health. Later, I went back and looked at the old photos from the event and realized how lucky I was to have capture those photos of the mayor before he passed away. 

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At the July 4th event in Jamestown, I thought about the Sawmills mayor. The photo shoot was very similar. It was a small town event and I wanted to capture a few photos of the event. I wanted to capture the people there. As I looked at the crowd I began to wonder, who are these people and where will they be in the future? I learned a long time ago that photos are important because as I take any photo I realize that I am capturing history. Call me crazy but when I see old photos I look at the faces in the image and wonder whatever happened to those people? Are they still with us? One day, my photos will be considered old and maybe one day someone will wonder the same thing. 

I never take photographing special events or people for granted. I understand the power of a photograph and enjoy being able to capture a part of history or a special part of someone's life. Being a photographer allows me to do that and there is nothing wrong with being an active historian of history. My advice is if you have a camera, try to capture special events in your life. You and others will be glad you did. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Becoming a Freelance Photographer

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Photography and videography are one of those businesses that offer so many opportunities for someone that is in business for themselves. However, it is pretty much a known fact that running a photography business can be expensive, time-consuming, and most photographers and videographers don't make a lot of income. That is why many photographers only do photography on the side and make a few bucks for each job they get. Most photographers that want to make money want to start their own business and want to work for themselves. Very few rarely look at the benefits of working as a freelance photographer. In this post, I will talk about what is a freelance photographer, can all photographers do freelance work, and should photographers focus on specific products and services or should they expand their skill sets to do freelance work. 

So what is a freelance photographer? If you look up the definition on the Internet you can find a wide variety of definitions for the term. In most cases,  a freelance photographer is simply someone that does photography work for others besides themselves. Being a freelance photographer can be profitable if you can find the right business or company that needs your skills. Being a freelance photographer can be expensive because another business is normally not going to provide you with gear, equipment, and software to do a job. So a good freelance photographer has to have the proper gear to do the job. Freelance work can be very time-consuming and can require travel and additional travel expenses. Lastly, freelance photography work is normally a "contract" type of employment which means there is no normal work schedule and companies don't offer benefits. So pretty much, you are on your own. 

Now you may think that being a freelance photographer is not that great but there are some advantages to becoming one. Depending on the work, the money might be pretty good in some cases. I recently saw a freelance real estate job that was willing to pay over $75 an hour to do real estate property shoots within a 30-mile radius in my local area. That is pretty good money if you have the flexibility to do the work, the time, and don't mind the travel. Being a freelance photographer can be exciting because you normally don't do the same thing or shoot the same thing on every project. You may do portrait shoots, all types real estate shoots, special events, video shoots, or even drone photography work. So there are some benefits from becoming a freelance photographer and incorporate those services into your photography business. 

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So, can all photographers do freelance work? Many photographers have the ability to do freelance work, while others don't want to or don't have the proper gear or equipment for the work that may be required. Some photographers focus on a specific form of photography and never want to learn the needed skills to do freelance photography projects. In my opinion, many photographers would like to make a little extra income doing freelance work but don't have all the needed gear. There have been cases where real estate agents have used their cell phones to take images of homes and the images were downloaded directly out of the camera and no post-processing was done. As you can imagine the photos were pretty bad. Today, many real estate companies are looking for certified drone pilots to shoot video footage of homes and land. There are a lot of missed opportunities to make extra income if a photographer can do drone footage. 

I feel the biggest reason many photographers don't do freelance work is their unwillingness to learn new skills so they can offer their products and services to potential businesses. Many photographers are very skilled and have the ability to do freelance work but only focus on a specific type of photography or service. Now don't get me wrong, there are many great photographers that offer some amazing work through their own business and products and services are client specific. There is nothing wrong with that. I feel the issue comes from not being open-minded about taking on some freelance work when the opportunity comes along. Many photographers could not only make more money but freelance work provides them a method to advertise their services and products to those for free. The power of marketing and advertising through word-of-mouth is a powerful thing. Freelance photography work allows photographers to showcase their skills and the potential for more work is possible. 

For many photographers, the question is should a photographer focus specifically on certain products or services or should they expand their skill sets? It really depends on the individual photographer and the goals they set for themselves and their business. For me, I am always working to improve my skill sets and knowledge when comes to photography and videography. I like to study more about photography, how to create new products, and I strive to offer unique services to my customers and clients.  I have no desire to open up my own studio for a variety of reasons. One such reason is cost and overhead. Having my own studio would be nice but it would also not allow me to be flexible in my schedule so I could do freelance work. I want the flexibility to work one-on-one with my clients and customers. I enjoy providing my clients and customers one-on-one attention. That is very important to me. So, for me, freelance photography work makes sense. In my world, I can do both. It just takes time, patience, and the willingness to stay focused on building my business. 

So what is your opinion about freelance photography work? Do you do it now?  Are you considering it? If not, what is holding you back? I would love to hear your take on the topic. Feel free to post your comments on the subject of being a freelance photographer. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

 

Do You Really Care About Your Old Images?

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In this post, I want to do a little ranting about a subject that drives me crazy. That is the subject of people not preserving their own photos. For the life of me, I cannot understand why people don't take the time to find their old photos, digitally scan them, and properly back up the photos to a secure location. I know people say they are busy with life but aren't one-of-a-kind photos important too? I believe that it is not that people are so busy they don't have time to preserve their old photos. It is that they don't understand how truly sorry they will be when their old photos were lost, damaged or destroyed. Then it will be too late. 

A few years ago I started thinking about how I would feel if I lost all of my old photos. Then I decided to take action before it was too late for me. I gathered up every photo I could find that was not digitalized and I began scanning them. As I was scanning them I realized that many of the photos consisted of only one copy and there were no negatives or backups. I realized if I did not take the time to scan my own images a part of my own life's history would be gone forever. I would not have images that my son and his family could keep and share for many years long after I was gone. That was my motivation for scanning my own photos. 

I talk to a lot of people that say they need to have their photos scanned and preserved, but never take the time to do it. I often wonder how they would feel if they lost their old photos due to a house fire. I am pretty sure they would have many regrets for not having their photos scanned and backed up. It is pretty easy to take action and preserve old photos. All that is required is locating all the old photos you can find, gather them up, have them scanned, put the images on some storage device, and back up the images to an off-site location. It is also a good practice to have multiple copies of the files. Having photos scanned and saved have other benefits too. All your precious images can be printed, shared, enhanced and restored. 

I have personally asked members of my own family if I could get a copy of an old image to find out no one knew where the images were and the only copy that once existed is now gone. That drives me nuts. I would love to see a photo of my late grandmother who died many years ago when I was a small boy. I really miss that lady and I have actually forgotten what she looked like. Having an old image of her would be priceless. Unfortunately, no one took the time to preserve her image and no one has a photo of her. 

Do you have old photos lying around your home stuffed in cabinets, drawer, folders, or other parts of your home? How would feel if you lost those photos in a house fire? Do your old photos mean a lot to you? If they do, I highly suggest you take the time to have your old photos scanned, stored on some type of backup device, and have the files backed up. You will be glad you did. I know I am. 

If would like your photos scanned contact me. It would be an honor for me to help you preserve your precious memories. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Drone Images of the Furniture Land South Building

Well, this Sunday morning was pretty fun for me. My photography goal for the day was to take some drone footage of a unique building that is not too far from my home. The building is called the Furniture Land South Building in High Point North Carolina. Actually, the building is less than a mile from my home and I have always wanted to photograph it but never really got around to it. Of course, since I now have a drone I finally took the time to go get a little drone footage this morning and finally shoot the building. It is funny how one becomes more eager to get out of bed to shoot drone video footage when they have a drone. 

The building is massive and used when the furniture market that comes to our town. Visitors from all over the world come to look at furniture in the showroom throughout town and the Furniture Land South building is stop that all visitor makes. What really stands out about the building is the large dresser that leads to the entrance of the building. You can't miss it. I wanted to do two things this morning. I wanted to get both still photos and of course, videos with the drone. I was pretty lucky this morning. I actually thought I would have some issues with getting a good location to launch the drone and getting some good angles for my shots. Even though the place was closed on Sundays I was still able to launch the drone and get some nice images from a variety of angles. That is the beauty of drone photography and videography, we have better access from above our subjects and the skies are unlimited (unless you violate FAA guidelines). If you are a drone pilot, don't do that. 

I was able to get some nice still images and a nice "pull away" shot of the Furniture Land South Building. Below are the images and video. 

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This morning I was able to accomplish the goals I set out to do. I try to establish daily goals when it comes to my photography and building my photography business. Now, I need to decide what's next on my agenda. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Portraits Sessions With Kids Can Be a Challege, But Rewarding Too

I have stated in the past I believe it is a good thing if a photographer branches out and photograph a wide variety of subjects. I enjoy trying new things that I feel will improve my photography skills no matter what the subject is. Even though I don't do a lot of portrait photography shoots with kids I do enjoy the challenge of photographing them and sometimes the images are awesome. What makes my photo shoots even more challenging for me is I don't like to carry around a lot of gear to do my portrait shoots, especially when trying to chase down "Little Johnny". Kids don't like to sit down to get their photos taken. So, I have to go mobile when photographing kids. That is where the challenge starts. 

I don't mind chasing kids down when photographing them. Walking around observing them and trying to capture unique and unstaged portraits is my main goal for children portrait images. My goal is to get at least one special image for the photo shoot. Sometimes, I may only get one or two special images and sometimes I may get really lucky and get more. Below are four images I took during a photo shoot of a beautiful little girl that was not staged and each photo was taken on her grandparents front porch in the Spring. I believe the photos are unique because they captured the little girl emotions and her expressions were priceless. The cute and colorful outfit was a plus as well. 

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There is a little history behind the images. The images were shot about 7 years ago and taken with my old trusty Canon 60D camera. I wanted to go back and re-edit the old images since my photography post-processing skills have improved over the years. I knew when the images were taken it was important for me to make sure I shot my images in "RAW" which would allow me to work with all the data from each image if I needed to in the future. It is important for any new photographer to remember to shot in RAW when possible. It is always important to save all your images and back them up. You never know when you may want to go back and revisit them and improve the images. You can do that if you shoot in RAW and don't lose them. 

For me, portrait images of little kids can be fun but it requires me to be observant and ready at all times. Kids photo shoots can be short or take longer than most portrait shoots. I always remain myself that I have to disregard time when it comes to photographing kids. I am on their time, not mine.

 It is great to have your own studio to photograph kids and have all the gear you need to take awesome well-planned images of the kids with fancy props, but what is the fun in that? I like the challenge of sneaking up on the kids to get my shots and using the natural environment around me. That is more fun for the kids and a big kid like me. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Preserving Your Old Photos is So Important

I have always loved old photos. The types of photos where there is only one original copy that still exists. One-of-a-kind photos are special and many times are irreplaceable if they are lost or damaged. The sad part is many people don't think about very old photos until they are lost or damaged. Many historic and family photos are usually located in old boxes or still in an old glass frame where the old photo is usually stuck to the glass and can be damaged if you try to remove it. Believe me, I have had my share of photos that were difficult to remove from an old glass frame and several times the print was totally destroyed. 

Today, people don't think too much about photos because we live in a digital world where current photos are easily taken and shared. But for many old photos that are printed and where is only one copy that is not the case. Old photos need to be taken care of, restored (if possible) and most importantly digitalized. If an old photo can be digitalized it can easily be shared and treasured for years to come. Sadly, some people don't think about it until an old historic or family photo is lost forever. 

Below is an old photo I restored for a friend that is no longer with us. He was a mayor of a small town in North Carolina who truly wanted to help preserve the town's history and had me restore several very old photos that were over 75 years old. He only had the originals and wanted the old photos digitalized so they could be shared for many years to come. He understood the importance of restoring old images of the past and took steps to do that. If you look at the old photo and think about it, those people are gone forever and that photo help preserves their life's history and legacy. That is a power of an old image one-of-a-kind image. 

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Do you have old images that need to be restored and digitalized? If you do I suggest you take the time to gather up those old images and have they scanned, enhanced, and stored away. It is important to take the time to do that. I personally gathered up every photo I could find and scanned them so I could preserve them. The tasked took me over 5 days to sit down and scan every image I could get my hands on. It was tedious work but it was worth it. Now I have all my photos backed up and I can share them. Just remember, once an old image is damaged, destroyed, or lost you can never get it back. 

If you have old images you would like restored or if you have old photos that you would like scanned just let me know I can do that for you. I would love to help you preserve your photos and history. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Drone Photography Can Be Fun and Profitable

In the photography world, today drone images and drone video images have become more popular. It takes a skill drone pilot get great images. I am not talking about the person in their backyard trying to fly their homemade drone and hoping they don't crash it or hit someone. I am talking about photographers that are looking for unique images that have a totally different perspective than the traditional photography and videos that are shot from ground level. 

As I fly my DJI Phantom 3 drone more and more I truly appreciate the images that come from the drone. I have the option to shoot nice still images with the drone. More impressive is the quality of the video footage from the drone. When I fly my drone I make it a point to capture still images and video footage during every photo shoot. I want to get a unique view of my subjects. Just recently I flew my drone in High Point NC with my son, Jordan Younce. He is a very talented drone pilot, photographer, videographer, and photographer trainer. I learn a great deal from him during our photoshoots. He and I went into downtown High Point NC to shoot some videos and stills with our drones. He was working on a drone video series for his company and I was just wanting to shoot some drone footage to improve my drone skills. My other objective was to get images I could use for future advertising. 

During my flights, I was able to capture a couple of unique images from downtown High Point. I captured some overhead footage of a nice business building, a new construction site, and a video of a small portion of downtown High Point. Drone photography provides me with an opportunity to look for images that I cannot get when doing my normal photography. I actually get pretty excited when I see what I can actually photograph or video from hundreds of feet above me. Below are a few images I captured;

Aerial View of Downtown High Point in North Carolina

Aerial View of Downtown High Point in North Carolina

Aerial View of Downtown Construction in High Point North Carolina.

Aerial View of Downtown Construction in High Point North Carolina.

Drone photography can open up a whole new world for photographers. It can be a little expensive to get started. Of course, you need a decent drone and it is very important to get FAA drone certified. Getting FAA certified opens up more opportunities for a drone pilot. It is also important to know that to fly commercially in the United States, all drone pilots that offer commercial services as a business have to be certified. Believe me, the FAA is continually looking for individuals that violate that policy. Youtube has many videos of drone pilots that have been slapped with fines for improper drone uses and safety violations. 

It takes patience and most of all practice when flying any drone. The last thing you want to do is crash your new drone or even worse, hurt someone because you don't have the skills to fly a drone. Drone photography is not that easy. Just search on Youtube for "Drone Fails" and you will see what I mean. I do not regret getting into drone photography. It opens up new opportunities for me and I can provide new services to my clients and customers. There are businesses that need certified drone photographers and videographers. So, why not provide those services to them. As a photographer, I don't understand why I would not want to do that. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Patience is Key in Building a Business and One's Brand

Building a business and a brand is very hard and takes a lot of patience, focus, and most of all work. The process is an on-going journey that really never ends. Nor should it. Over time, many things change and that is a good thing. You never want to get bored or even worse, lazy. One of the biggest issues for anyone building their own business is not being patient. In our fast-paced society today, people want what they want right now, but are not willing to be patient in building their business. They want immediate gratification either through material things and social acceptance. without putting in the time and energy to build their business. Building a business and most of all life doesn't work that way.  

It takes a lot of patience to build a business and a brand. Many people want things right now and they measure success by the actions of others. In our social media society today people want more likes, more followers, and subscribers. Some people feel that if they have such things they are successful. The reality is none of those things spell success and mean nothing when measuring success in building a business or brand. The number of likes, followers, and subscribers is an illusion and amount to nothing. It is important to keep so-called likers, followers, and subscribers in perspective and remember you don't really know those people and they bring no real value to the success to your business. In most cases, they don't want anything from your business and don't buy anything from you anyway. More focus should be placed on attracting real customers and clients into your business. It is not the number of customers and clients you have it is more about the quality of customers and clients you can attract and provide them with high-quality products and services. I would much rather spend more of my time working with real customers and clients than spending my time and energy on people that clicked a button on one of my social media channels. 

There are ways to be work on patience in building your business or brand. For me, I find that if I work on my business every day and do at least one thing to build my business I will become more successful. That is called putting in the work. Building my business requires hard work. I must consistently learn more about my craft, work in improving my photography and videography skills, write more blog posts, and most of all create more consistent content for my customers and clients. All those actions require focus and patience. 

It is a good idea to develop an action plan each day to keep you focused on building a business. I like to plan out my day and have several objectives in mind that I want to accomplish each and every day. I look at each day as an opportunity to do something special and productive. I don't like wasting my day. 

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I feel consistency is the key to becoming more successful in building my business. Building a business is a process that continually changes. I like that. For me, it is part of the journey and part of the game. Patience is the major player in how successful I will become in the future. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Drone Photography Requires Practice, Planning, and Patience

Flying a drone and doing drone photography can be a lot of fun and helps to get those creative juices flowing. However, flying a drone can present some challenges. It takes practice, planning, and patience. It is fairly easy to simply learn to fly a drone for fun but when your goal is to actually photograph or shoot video of a subject the tasks may require a little more focus and effort.

One of the first challenges is finding a place to get a lot of practice. It requires finding a place that you can safely and legally fly your drone. Many people that first get their new drone usually want to find an open field and fly it to see how far and high their drone can fly. When you have a drone that has a camera you have the desire to want to see all the views from the camera you can't see from the ground. Now that is cool, but it can be dangerous. As a drone pilot, you have to take into consideration your surroundings like trees, power lines, people, buildings and many other things that can damage your drone or even worse hurt someone. When I got my drone may the first goal was not to test the limits of my drone. My main goal was to find out how to properly fly the drone, learn the technology of the drone, how to fly it legally, and most of all how not to crash it.

AirMap App

AirMap App

Another challenge to flying a drone is finding a place to fly the drone where you can legally fly it. Yes, new drone owners don't think about that when they get a new drone. Most new drone owners launch their drone and want to see how high they can fly and what they can see from a high elevation. That is cool, but it can be very dangerous. There are limits and restrictions on flying a drone. For example, since I am not a certified drone pilot the highest I can legally fly my drone in most situations is 400 feet. I know my drone can fly much higher. For me, learning my limits and restrictions is pretty easy. My son is a certified commercial drone pilot and provides me guidance on what I am allowed to do when flying my drone. To find out where I can legally fly my drone I need to know exactly where I can fly my drone either for practice or to conduct an actual photo or video shoot. To do that I use a simple app called "AirMap" for my DJI Phantom Pro. It provides me with information on where I can fly my drone and where I cannot. It uses my current location to display my limitations.  As you can see from the AirMap App I have limitations. The orange circles indicate where I cannot fly. You can see why planning where to fly is very important. The last thing you want is to get slapped with a $10,000 fine for flying in a restricted area.

On my last drone shoot, I visited a local park called the Oak Hollow Park in High Point North Carolina. My goal was to find a nice location to practice flying my drone. Now I would not recommend flying your drone if you are not confident enough to fly it over water. The Oak Hollow Park is surrounded by a large lake called, you guessed it, the Oak Hollow Lake. After flying the drone a couple of times and getting accustomed to the controls I felt confident enough to not crash my drone into the lake. Once I scoped out the lake and surroundings I started looking for a subject to shoot. There was a couple of fisherman in the lake and I started to video them but I thought that would be pretty boring. Then I realized that I could get a photograph and video of the Oak Hollow Golf Course which was located across the lake about a half mile away. On a previous video shoot, I tried to get a video of another golf course in my local area but was unsuccessful. However, I figured if I could reach the Oak Hollow Golf course from the park I could possibly get a nice area photo and video of the golf course. After a couple of dry runs near and over the golf course, I was able to get the shots I wanted.

Aerial View of the Oak Hollow Golf Course

Aerial View of the Oak Hollow Golf Course

All-in-all, my day of photographing and shooting video was a lot of fun. I feel more confident as I continue to get more practice with my drone. It is always good to practice as much as possible, plan your shoots, and be patient when flying a drone. My drone is a very expensive and important part of my photography gear. I don't want to lose it due to poor planning and a lack of practice. I am enjoying my drone photography and I plan to do a lot more of it in the future.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger